Dear Gov. LePage,

So I spent most of the day Thursday on my computer watching the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee pick apart your role in last June’s firing of House Speaker Mark Eves as president of the Good Will-Hinckley school. But I’m left with one nagging question that you, and only you, can answer:

Isn’t it about time you man up?

As last week’s marathon session droned on, I so hoped you’d shock us all and do one of your trademark outta-my-way cameo appearances to set the record straight on what you said to whom and when. But in the end you wimped out completely, didn’t you, Big Guy?

Rather than take the committee’s questions like the tough-talking leader you purport to be, you dispatched your senior policy adviser, Aaron Chadbourne, your legal counsel, Cynthia Montgomery, and your former interim education commissioner, Tom Desjardin, to backpedal the executive branch away from this scandal that some believe constitutes grounds for impeachment.

We’ll get to their not-so-riveting testimony in a minute.


But first, just out of curiosity, exactly where were you hiding the whole day through? Under your desk? Behind your cheerleaders and their synchronized pompoms on Twitter? Pulling down the storm windows on the Blaine House?

Sure, I know you weren’t subpoenaed like Chadbourne and Montgomery were. But the committee was dealing with a very simple question here: Did you or did you not threaten to withhold $530,000 in state funding unless Good Will-Hinckley fired the newly hired Eves because, in your view, he was a “hack” who had no business running the private, nonprofit organization?

Simple question, right? So simple that you had no problem answering it for the media on June 30, when you said, “Yeah, I did. If I could, I would. Absolutely. Why wouldn’t I? Tell me why I wouldn’t take the taxpayer money to prevent somebody to go into a school and destroy it.”

Well, Governor, some might say because you’re not the boss of them. But judging by how quickly the Good Will-Hinckley board caved to your demand, apparently its members tremble at the mere mention of your name.

In fact, emissaries from your administration simply had to utter the word “support” – as in “the Big Guy doesn’t support your decision to hire Mark Eves” – and, just like that, the Good Will-Hinckley board gave its newly hired president the heave-ho before he’d worked a single day.

Which brings us back to that testimony.


Montgomery, your lawyer, insisted she knew next to nothing about your plans to pull the $530,000 in funding from the school. Chadbourne and Desjardin both claimed with straight faces that when they told Good Will-Hinckley officials that hiring Eves would cost the school your “support,” they weren’t necessarily talking (gasp) about the money.

My favorite quote came from Chadbourne, upon being informed that Good Will-Hinckley board Chairman Jack Moore (along with everyone else who heard the threats) came away with no doubt whatsoever that money was exactly what was being discussed.

Testified Chadbourne, “I’m not going to dispute any conclusions that (Moore) drew from our conversation.”

(Maybe it’s just me, Governor, but Chadbourne sounds a lot like the wide-eyed mob enforcer who tells the judge, “All due respect, Your Honor, I never said I was going to break the plaintiff’s legs. I simply said he might have difficulty walking his daughter down the aisle at her impending wedding. Which, of course, would be very unfortunate for all concerned …”)

What made Thursday’s rhetorical gymnastics so galling is that it centered on a question that’s already been answered. Truth be told, all of Maine already knows you threatened to withhold the Good Will-Hinckley funds unless Eves was fired.

And how do we know it? Because, Big Guy, you yourself said so last June – before presumably smarter minds got to you and said, “Um, Governor, we might want to work on our messaging here. You may be the most powerful man in the land, sir, but perception of extortion is a pretty powerful thing too … ”


Since then, it’s been nothing but the same old whining (Witch hunt! Media! Democrats!), character assassination (Eves is unqualified!) and paranoia (Republican Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, is out to get me because he wants my job!) that you display whenever your runaway rage propels you into a corner from which there is no easy escape.

So here we sit yet again, an entire state reeling from a guy who does and says whatever he damn well pleases one minute, only to disappear the next until the aftershocks subside.

As I’m sure you already know, Governor, the consensus around the State House seems to be that any impeachment effort launched by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will die in the Republican-controlled state Senate, assuming it gets that far.

In other words, it looks like you’re going to get away with this one. Again.

So why not do the right thing just this once?

Rather than replace the word “money” with the word “support” and proclaim yourself innocent of any and all wrongdoing, why not call back the media, pick up where you left off last June and say, “Yeah, I threatened to withhold the $530,000. And here’s why …”


Or better yet, ask the Government Oversight Committee to reconvene, raise your right hand, and do the same thing under oath.

It’s called manning up, Big Guy.

You got a problem with that?


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