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LePage Adviser: There Was No Explicit Threat to Cut Funds

AUGUSTA, Maine — Testifying under oath, an aide to Gov. Paul LePage denied conveying an explicit threat to withhold funding for a charter school because of the hiring of a political foe.

Senior policy adviser Aaron Chadbourne told the Government Oversight Committee on Thursday that LePage wanted school leaders to know he believed House Speaker Mark Eves was unqualified to lead the institution.

Chadbourne, interim education deputy chief Tom Desjardin and the governor's top lawyer spoke after the committee required witnesses to testify under oath. Desjardin acknowledged Thursday that he withheld the school's first-quarter payment, but said he didn't do so on the governor's orders.

Good Will-Hinckley Chairman Jack Moore previously told the panel that a threat by the governor to withhold money led the board to rescind a job offer for Eves.