MADISON — The staff of nearly a half-dozen people at the Anson-Madison Water District all were fired in the wake of theft charges being filed against the superintendent and foreman of the district, officials said Tuesday.

Four full-time workers and a part-time employee were dismissed and their positions will be filled by people working for the Maine Rural Water Association, according to the association’s executive director, Kirsten Hebert.

“All of the former Anson-Madison staff were effectively terminated when the Anson-Madison Water District board of trustees made a decision to move into contract operations,” she said.

Among those fired were Superintendent Michael Corson, 52, of Madison, and foreman Michael Jordan, 31, of North Anson. Each was charged with a felony count of Class C theft, Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster announced Monday.

Investigators determined the men had sold old water lines to a scrap metal dealer and then divided the proceeds among district employees, Lancaster said. The utility lines had been discontinued but were still owned by the district.

“I am acquiring staff that are now Maine Rural Water (employees) and Anson-Madison is their essential assignment,” Hebert said.

The investigation began when the sheriff’s office received a tip in October from a member of the district’s board of trustees who reported that former water lines were being sold as scrap, Lancaster said earlier.

Investigators discovered 21 transactions from March to October in which lines were sold to the scrap dealer, with the money from the sales divided between Corson and Jordan, Lancaster said. Construction equipment owned by the district was used to facilitate the transactions, he said.

He declined to say how much money was collected in the sales. Class C theft involves property valued between $1,000 and $9,999 and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Corson and Jordan are scheduled to appear in Somerset County Unified Court on Feb. 16.

Hebert, Lancaster and Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties, all declined Tuesday to elaborate on some aspects of the investigation. It’s not clear, for instance, why the district’s entire staff was fired when only two have been charged. It’s also not known when they were fired.

“What I can say is that we’ve been working closely with the district attorney’s office and these are the charges that they are willing to move forward with,” Lancaster said.

A phone number listed for Corson was no longer in service Tuesday and a call to a listing for Jordan rang unanswered. It wasn’t clear if the men have attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

The water district is overseen by its board of trustees and is not a municipal department of Anson or Madison. The Richmond-based water association provides training, technical assistance and other services to water districts and other organizations in the state. The Anson-Madison district is a member of the association and has about 1,800 customers.

Hebert said the association helped consolidate Anson and Madison into a single district about a decade ago.

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