CHELSEA — Embattled former selectman Carole Swan is offering to donate land to fix a municipal road job by Marshall Swan Construction that has the town facing financial penalties.

With both Swans making a front-row appearance Wednesday, selectmen voted to table action on proposed fixes to two town-funded Marshall Swan Construction jobs.

One of those jobs, a 2009 culvert project on Windsor Road, sparked state sanctions because it filled in a wetland of “special significance” and was done without proper permits.

Records show Marshall Swan earned $66,600 for the work without having to enter a bid because selectmen, including Carole Swan, had deemed the project an “emergency” — a claim disputed by some former officials.

Selectmen tabled action Wednesday on a motion that the town obtain an after-the-fact permit for the work.

At one point of the meeting, Carole Swan spoke up, offering to donate an acre of property to offset the damage by her husband’s construction firm.

“I have a piece of property that maybe (Town Manager) Scott (Tilton) could look into that I could maybe donate to the town,” she said.

After the meeting, Tilton said that was the first he’d heard of her offer, and it could be considered.

Board of Selectman Chairman Linda Leotsakos recommended the town use town-owned property before acquiring new land.

The state has assessed the town a $17,301 fee to fix Windsor Road, Tilton said. He said consultant Jim Coffin of E.S. Coffin Engineering & Surveying Inc. estimated actual remediation would cost approximately $5,000.

Selectmen unanimously tabled the item, saying they want to explore using other town-owned property before incurring the fee.

They also tabled action on a request from residents Earl and Sheila Adams that the town help fix what they claim is damage done to their property by Marshall Swan in either 2004 or 2005.

Earl Adams said Marshall Swan Construction’s work on a culvert at his 30 Hankerson Road property led to the drainage of a 50-foot-wide, 140-foot-long pond on the property, which he said his wife inherited from her father, Bill Downer, who died in 2009.

Pictures provided by Earl Adams, of Pittston, showed an area that had been turned into a swamp, with cat-o-nine-tails abound. He said Marshall Swan had no authorization to drain the pond.

Marshall Swan disputed those claims Wednesday, saying Downer had given him verbal permission to drain the pond so Downer could raise cattle there.

He said Downer was working on draining the pond before Swan arrived.

“He said, ‘Marshie, put that culvert wherever you’d like,'” Marshall Swan told selectmen Wednesday. “He was going to pay for it with his money. I said, ‘Bill, you don’t need to do that. If the town is responsible, they will take that out of their money.’ “

Leotsakos asked Swan for documentation of his conversation with Downer.

“I didn’t write it down, but I have witnesses,” he said.

Sheila Adams told selectmen that’s impossible, judging by what she said her father’s reaction was when shown the property.

“He was very, very upset about it,” she said. “It’s an absolute eyesore and it’s a shame.”

“We’ve got no issue with the culvert,” Earl Adams said. “Our issue was, the culvert could have gone in without disturbing the pond.”

Neither officials, the Swans nor Adamses could pinpoint the date of the job in question. Selectmen tabled the issue for lack of information.

The Swans entered the meeting shortly after it was called to order, moving to the front row of seats in the Chelsea Grange hall just in front of Tilton.

Carole Swan took meticulous notes, while Marshall Swan toted a calculator. The two whispered often. Both took turns speaking publicly on a variety of issues.

Selectmen even deferred to them for information on certain issues, such as to learn the mileage of paved roads in town.

Also on hand Wednesday, Whitefield plow contractor Frank Monroe recorded portions of the meeting as selectmen voted unanimously to move ahead with new rules requiring contractors to have certain qualifications before entering the town bid process.

Tilton asked for a motion to allow him to proceed with outlining the list of pre-qualifications for snowplow bids. The motion passed unanimously.

He said the list would make more information available to the town about prospective contractors, such as the amount of insurance, experience and equipment possessed by potential contractors.

“It’s like a background check, but without the credit check, criminal check and things like that,” Tilton said.

Monroe, who sat silently throughout that part of the meeting with a digital voice recorder on his knee, contends he holds the town snowplow contract through 2012, and is threatening legal action to retain it. Monroe’s lawyer, Gardiner-based Sean Farris, has said he will file suit within a month.

Monroe said he has provided the town with the contract, but town attorney Stephen Langsdorf has said he can’t come up with a contract for Monroe.

Monroe has admitted paying at least $10,000 in kickbacks from town sand contracts to Carole Swan in 2010, around the time he retained his two-year contract without bidding.

Arrested Feb. 10, Swan was indicted Thursday on charges she solicited as much as $20,000 in kickbacks from Monroe over a two-year period.

Monroe is not facing charges.

Carole Swan and Monroe both sat in the front row of Wednesday’s selectman’s meeting, on opposite ends of the room.

As Carole Swan left the meeting, Tilton passed her a note. Speaking Thursday, Tilton said the note was regarding her claim she is due pay of up to $5,000, for serving as an assessor last year.

“Carole is eligible for some pay as an assessor,” he said. “I was asking her to call me so I can see whether she is going to accept it or not.”

Leonard Sharon, Carole Swan’s defense attorney, said Thursday he had no problem with his client attending Wednesday’s meeting.

“I believe that the court order on Carole’s bail made clear that her bail conditions must be strictly construed so as not to infringe upon her First Amendment rights,” Sharon wrote in an email. “I believe she was well within her rights to speak at the meeting. I’m sure that the selectpersons will give her comments the appropriate weight in light of Marshall’s long service to the community.”

Marshall Swan is a member of the Planning Board; his wife served as a selectman for 19 consecutive years.

Langsdorf was less enthusiastic about the Swans’ ongoing involvement in town affairs.

“It’s certainly their constitutional right,” he said. “I would question whether getting actively involved in town affairs is in either theirs or the town’s best interests during the investigation.”

He was referring to ongoing criminal investigations at the county and federal levels that target Carole and Marshall Swan regarding “attempts to circumvent the town’s bidding ordinance,” Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty has said.

In other business Wednesday, selectmen approved Cynthia Burnham, of Litchfield, as deputy clerk, deputy treasurer, deputy tax collector, deputy General Assistance administrator and registrar of voters.

They also re-appointed Fire Chief Shawn Ramage and Animal Control Officer Chris Martinez.

And they approved more than $200,000 in payments — $151,000 of which is a payment to Regional School Unit 12.

Michael Shepherd — 621-5662

[email protected]

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