MONMOUTH — A local businessman is suing a selectman for allegedly trying to co-opt his company’s name as payback for his political opposition.

The suit has shined a spotlight on intense political wrangling in town.

Martin Bumann, owner of M.V.B. Painting, has filed a complaint in Kennebec County Superior Court against Hrd Knx Academy and its owners, selectwoman Colleen Fournier and former selectwoman Sharon Wing. Bumann’s attorney, George Dilworth, alleges that Fournier and Wing, in an effort to exploit Bumann’s reputation, copyrighted the name of Bumann’s painting business and are using it for their new business.

Dilworth says in court documents that Fournier and Wing are on a vendetta because Bumann opposed them in June’s selectmen election.

The suit said the two, who are neighbors of Bumann’s, are trying to usurp the name of Bumann’s painting business and that of a computer company owned by Selectman Timothy McDonald.

“Defendants Fournier and Wing became incensed at (Bumann’s) First Amendment activities,” Dilworth said.

In business since 1998

Dilworth said Bumann has common law rights to the trademarks. The suit alleges six counts against Hrd Knx, including deceptive trade practices, fraudulent registration of trademarks, injury to business reputation, unfair competition, unfair trade practices and cancellation of trademark registrations.

Bumann is asking the court to prevent Hrd Knx from using his company’s name and to repay him for damages and court fees as well as any additional amount the court believes is justified. Bumann is seeking to expedite the hearing, but no date had been set as of Friday.

Bumann and Dilworth declined to comment further until the hearing. McDonald said he is not part of Bumann’s lawsuit and declined comment. Wing, who said they have hired an attorney, referred questions to Fournier, who did not return calls seeking comment.

Bumann started M.V.B. Painting in Massachusetts in 1998, according to Dilworth. His company tagline since then has been “Done right the first time.”

He moved next door to Wing and Fournier in 2004 — all three families live on lower Academy Road — and brought with him his company’s name and tagline, Dilworth said.

“Bumann’s good will that he built in Massachusetts enabled him to build his business in Maine because he was able to provide potential customers with favorable references and recommendations,” Dilworth said.

One of those customers was Fournier, who hired Bumann in 2008 to frame a window and do ceiling work, Dilworth said.

“Today, the business is thriving, well-respected and reliant on the reputation and wide recognition of the names ‘M.V.B. Painting’ and ‘M.V.B. Painting Done Right The First Time,’ ” Dilworth said.

Political allies, foes

Dilworth alleges Wing and Fournier have been political allies since at least the June 2010 board of selectmen election. Fournier ran against Wing, who had served on the board since 2001, but Wing withdrew her name before the election, allowing Fournier to run unopposed, Dilworth said.

Months before the election, Wing and Fournier had talked Bumann and others about political effort. They said they wanted to “fill the board of selectmen and economic development board with individuals who were supportive of (their) positions, desires and goals,” including a new public safety building, Dilworth said. Toward that end, Dilworth said, Wing and Dennis Fournier, Colleen Fournier’s husband, ran for two openings on the board. Neither was elected.

Dilworth said Bumann was alarmed by Fournier and Wing’s political maneuvering. In April, Bumann gathered nearly 200 signatures to amend the town’s recall ordinance, which governs how elected officials are removed from office.

Selectmen rejected Bumann’s petition because it wasn’t phrased well, but the board developed a revision. The new ordinance, approved by voters in November, reduced the threshold for a successful recall from two-thirds to a simple majority.

Dilworth alleges Bumann further angered Wing and Fournier in May when he submitted an editorial to a local publication calling on voters to elect someone “without an agenda.”

Wing and Fournier formed Hrd Knx Academy on July 11, Dilworth said. That same day, Hrd Knx filed applications with the secretary of state to trademark M.V.B. Painting Done Right The First Time and M.V.B. Painting.

Hrd Knx also filed applications that day to trademark the names of McDonald’s company: TMaC Computers, TMAC Computers — Computers, Software, Sales & Service and TMAC PC Beta.

Dilworth said Wing certified in those applications that she knew of no other companies that had a right to use the names and that they would not be confused with another company.

Dilworth believes Wing knew better.

“The three marks are readily known in Monmouth as being the trade names and trademarks of Monmouth resident Tim McDonald for his computer sales and consulting business,” Dilworth said. “Tim McDonald is a member of the Monmouth Board of Selectmen who is also critical of (Wing and Fournier’s) political maneuvers and positions and who publicly supported incumbents Pauline McDougald and Doug Ludewig in the June 2011 elections.”

Fournier, on behalf of Hrd Knx Academy, on July 25 filed paperwork with the town making Hrd Knx Academy the sole proprietor of a painting business called M.V.P. Painting and a computer sales and service company called TMAC PC.

Town Manager Curtis Lunt confirmed Tuesday that the paperwork had been filed. He said state law requires businesses to file the certificates as a means of identifying owners of local businesses. Lunt said neither Bumann nor McDonald had filed the paperwork, but that’s not unusual.

On July 20, Fournier and Wing created a Facebook page for Hrd Knx Academy. The business advertised painting and computer services, as well as computer sales, Dilworth said.

“We will specialize in two primary fields, computers software solutions and home painting design and consulting services,” Dilworth said, quoting a post on the Hrd Knx Facebook page that is no longer available. “The purpose for incorporation was to make sure it is ‘Done right the first time.’ “

Craig Crosby–621-5642

[email protected]

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