FARMINGDALE — A candidate for selectman says a recent letter distributed to residents that’s signed with his name is not from him.

The letter and previous negative campaign material from the candidate, James Grant, has led to finger pointing among him, his opponent, the former road commissioner and a town contractor.

Grant, who is running against incumbent Rickey McKenna, said he didn’t write or distribute a letter taped to some mailboxes in town Sunday night.

“Personally, I just think it’s really sad that someone in my competitor’s camp is willing to go to this level of deceit and outright lies to continue their stranglehold on the town of Farmingdale,” Grant said.

McKenna said he just heard about the letter and his campaign didn’t have anything to do with it.

The letter comes at the same time that Grant is distributing a six-page collection of documents from two construction project records and excerpts of newspaper clippings about construction and plowing contracts.

The packet attempts to paint a picture of wasted taxpayer dollars and favoritism exhibited by the selectmen for Ellis Construction, a local contractor.

Grant said he decided to run because he didn’t want McKenna to run unopposed, but now he is running to eliminate what he said is wasteful spending and questionable ethics.

The letter, purportedly from Grant, states that he recently learned that former Road Commissioner William Rogers resigned because the selectmen were going to fire him for using a racial slur at a meeting in May.

The letter also states that Grant’s previous flier was “full of half truths” based on information from Rogers and that Grant removed Rogers from his campaign as a result.

Grant said that Rogers has never worked for his campaign and has not supplied him with information. Rogers also said that he doesn’t have anything to do with Grant’s campaign.

However, McKenna and Ellis both said that they believe Rogers is behind Grant’s efforts.

“I’m sure he’s the driving force in all of this,” McKenna said of Rogers.

Ellis said Grant’s packet highlighting what the town has spent on projects he has done fails to tell the whole story of the projects.

A culvert repair project on Dale Street awarded to Ellis’ company last year for $8,829 ended up costing $24,375.

Ellis and McKenna said that’s because the project involved more work and materials than expected.

“(Grant’s) being driven by other people, and unfortunately he’s not bright enough to look up his facts and figures,” Ellis said.

Grant said he contacted the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office about the letter that claims to be from him. The office confirmed that Grant filed a complaint that someone forged his signature.

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said it is illegal to attach anything to a mailbox without proper postage, although people are often not aware of the law. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he has not heard of similar incidents statewide, and that his office does not have jurisdiction over municipal elections.

Selectman David Sirois is the acting road commissioner until the board can appoint a new one.

The position had been an elected position until residents voted to change to a select board appointment at the 2009 Town Meeting.

Residents will have the chance to reverse that decision at the June 22 Town Meeting, thanks to a petition from Rogers to put it on the warrant. The vote for selectman is June 21.

Rogers resigned at the May 15 Board of Selectmen meeting after the selectmen voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

In his resignation letter, Rogers stated that the selectmen made it difficult to do his job because of favoritism.

McKenna said Rogers use of a racial slur was one of reason the selectmen wanted to discuss the personnel matter with him in executive session.

Rogers said he regrets using the racial slur at the May meeting.

“It just came out by accident,” he said. “I should have used a different word.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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