AUGUSTA — The former treasurer of the Litchfield Fair, charged with theft last year after fair officials discovered $120,000 in fair funds had disappeared, made his initial court appearance Monday.

Ryan A. Beaudette, 37, of West Gardiner, was arrested last August and charged with theft of more than $10,000 from the Litchfield Farmers’ Club, the nonprofit organization that runs the annual agricultural fair.

Club officers, after examining the fair’s books for the time period Beaudette was treasurer, said the club’s bank accounts were drained. They found more than $120,000 was missing and believed to have been stolen. An attorney helping club officials, Kevin Sullivan, said Beaudette admitted to him he had stolen the money from the club.

Beaudette did not speak in court Monday, other than to acknowledge he understood the charge against him. He also did not enter a plea to the felony-level Class B theft charge, because, Superior Court Justice William Stokes said, suspects in felony-level cases do not enter a plea at their initial appearance.

“We are still reviewing documents from the state,” Beaudette’s attorney, Walter McKee, said after the brief court appearance. “Once we have everything, we will size things up and go from there.”

Officials of the Litchfield Farmers’ Club said they were surprised at the time it took for Beaudette to end up in court.


“We never thought it’d take this long, but that’s the legal system; you know how that works,” Richard Brown, vice president of the club, said Monday.

Beaudette remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail, meaning he did not have to provide cash bail, with conditions of his release including that he stay off Litchfield Farmers’ Club property.

In Maine, Class B crimes are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Beaudette was also charged in March with one count of violating conditions of his release on Feb. 14 in Augusta for allegedly driving with a suspended or revoked license and operating a motor vehicle that was not registered, to which he has pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

Beaudette was treasurer of the club from 2014 to 2018, when he resigned and club officers voted to fire him from the post.

Fair officials said the money disappeared from various accounts of the club over the past two years.


The club had to raise funds to put on the fair last year, bringing in more than $20,000 in donations to help cover startup costs. It also benefited from $23,000 worth of services donated to the fair, for which it would normally pay, Brown said.

“We’ve been OK; we’ve had a lot of good people help us,” Brown said of how the organization is doing. “The local community was very good to the fair. The community treated us tremendously well.”

In addition to the $120,000 missing from the club’s books, club officials also said Beaudette appeared to have left more than $10,000 in unpaid bills, for costs including credit cards, insurance and electricity.

The fair went on as scheduled last year, as always on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day.

The Litchfield Fair, according to the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs, is scheduled for a Sept. 6 through 8 run this year.

Brown said last year’s attendance was record-breaking and vowed there would be another Litchfield Fair this year.

Comments are no longer available on this story