AUGUSTA — William E. Dowling, mayor of Augusta from 1999 to 2006, was the right-hand man of developer Kevin Mattson and the various business entities he ran until late last year.

Now Dowling is suing Mattson and those businesses in Kennebec County Superior Court, seeking back wages, unused vacation and sick pay, loan repayment and other costs totaling almost $900,000.

As part of the suit, Dowling’s attorney, Phillip E. Johnson, is seeking an attachment of more than $500,000 on Mattson and Mattson Development as well as an attachment of almost $380,000 on five other named defendants, all Mattson firms, and listed as Dirigo Capital Advisors LLC, Harper’s Development LLC, Central Maine Commerce Center Inc., Central Maine Commerce Center LP and Hallowell House LLC. Attachment is a legal process in which a specific property can be transferred or sold.

Attorneys Thomas Federle and Stacy Stitham and Russell Pierce, representing the various defendants, have yet to file a response in court. Instead, two of them requested and received more time to file an answer. Federle said that the defendants expect to file an answer by Tuesday or indicate to the court that the matter has been settled.

“We’re attempting to work out a settlement,” Dowling said Friday. “I’m hoping early next week.”

Dowling, 66, who ran unsuccessfully in November to retake Augusta’s mayoral seat, said he is currently working as a consultant.

Mattson, who replied to a reporter’s query via email, said he and Dowling have been friends a long time and that he’s “quite sure that Bill and I will settle our misunderstanding amicably, privately, and soon.”

“All I will say is that there is and has been a disagreement over a few business items, and as you know, you can allege anything in a lawsuit and this one is full of allegations that are just untrue,” he wrote. “I think Bill would agree that it only takes a bit of disagreement, mix in an attorney or two to egg you on, and you get a nasty cocktail.”

In November, Dowling was director of development for Dirigo Capital Advisors, a Hallowell-based firm that developed and owns some major commercial properties in Augusta. He started working with Mattson in 2002 on the Key Plaza project, and they continued with large scale real estate projects, including the Central Maine Commerce Center and the Ballard Center at the former MaineGeneral Medical Center site on East Chestnut Street.

Stitham wrote in an email to the Kennebec Journal that it’s Central Maine Commerce Center’s position that Dowling “was never an employee of the partnership, and is not entitled to recover any claimed wages or other payments from CMCC.”

Dowling’s complaint says he worked for Mattson from 2002 to 2014 generally as chief operating officer and was issued payroll checks in the names of all those firms. It says Dowling loaned Mattson $88,400 in 2008 to pay bills, an amount that was not fully repaid and neither was an additional 2012 loan for $28,000.

The complaint says $130,000 was owed in balance and interest as of the end of 2014. It also says Dowling was paid $150,000 per year until 2009, when his salary was reduced to $100,000, with Mattson promising Dowling bonuses as the various companies were leased or sold. The complaint says most of the bonuses were unpaid. The lawsuit says Dowling last received a bonus payment of almost $1,400 on Feb. 4, 2015.

Justice Michaela Murphy gave the defendants until March 20 to respond to the complaint and request for attachment. However, that day the court received Stitham’s motion for more time. Stitham says Dowling does not object to an additional 11 days, continuing the matter until March 31.

“Some or more of the defendants are engaged in active settlement discussions which may have the effect of globally resolving the (case),” Stitham wrote.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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