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Politics

Sister's Suit Alleges Republican Lawmaker Misused Money From Family Corporation

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Pat Wellenbach
/
The Associated Press
Assistant House Majority Leader Rep. Andre Cushing III, of Hampden, makes remarks to the news media at the State House in 2012.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Maine’s assistant Senate majority leader, Republican Andre Cushing, is being sued by his sister.

The lawsuit filed in Penobscot County Superior Court last week alleges that Cushing has siphoned off millions of dollars from a family corporation.

Attorney Walter McKee, who is representing plaintiff Laura Cushing McIntyre, says that after pouring over evidence for months, he sees a troubling pattern in which Senator Cushing fraudulently used money from a family corporation for personal benefit.

Says McKee, “Where money has gone to Mr. Cushing to corporations that he’s had interest in, and were directly in contravention to what the corporation was set up to do in the first place.”

The family corporation was established by the siblings’ late father to manage family timberland, as well as to invest in the stock market. But McKee says that Cushing took loans without approval by shareholders, transferred money into some shareholders’ personal accounts, and used funds for his senate campaign. As a result, McKee says, the family corporation that was once worth millions of dollars is essentially worthless.

“What we’re seeing now in at least one of the accounts, is something that went from about 1.4 million dollars down to about 16-thousand dollars,” says McKee.

The lawsuit also names Senator Cushing’s wife and three adult children as defendants. Cushing, who is running for re-election to represent District 10 in Penobscot County, says in a written response that he’s disappointed that a family disagreement has spilled over into the public domain, and that it would be inappropriate to comment on the facts of the case before receiving the court briefing.

McKee says his client wants the money in question to be paid back, “And obviously it’s not working for her to be a shareholder of that corporation, she needs to be paid the fair market value of her shares.”

Cushing’s sister is also seeking punitive damages.