SKOWHEGAN — More than $12,000 was collected from a scrap metal dealer in what authorities say was the illegal sale of old utility lines belonging to the Anson-Madison Water District, according to court records obtained Tuesday.

Of those thousands of dollars collected during 21 different transactions from March to October, only $500 was deposited into the water district’s account.

A search warrant on file at Somerset County Superior Court in Skowhegan reveals that Michael Corson, the former superintendent of the water district who has been charged in the scheme, was told in 2012 by trustees who oversee the district that any money collected from the sale of discontinued water lines belongs to the district and must be deposited into its account.

When asked by investigators this fall if he remembered that 2012 conversation, he acknowledged that he did, according to the warrant.

Corson was fired Dec. 7 and also dismissed was foreman Michael Jordan, although it’s not clear when. Officials previously said Corson was fired “due to concerns about his management of the district.” Each is facing a count of felony theft.

Investigators with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office inspected cellphones used by Corson and Jordan, according to the search warrant, which was filed Nov. 30. The phones belong to the district and had been assigned to them.


The two had exchanged text messages “talking about the money received from the scrap metal/old water lines” and appeared to acknowledge in the messages that the lines belonged to the district, according to the warrant.

The $12,291 that was collected from the sale of the lines was split among about a half-dozen district employees. It wasn’t clear Tuesday whether the workers were aware of where the money had come from.

A week after Corson was terminated, the board of trustees dismissed all district employees, later explaining in a statement that none of them “were terminated due to misconduct or any accusation of wrongdoing.” Those employees were given a severance package.

Trustees on Dec. 13 contracted with the Maine Rural Water Association to take over operations of the district and those workers who were laid off were encouraged to apply with MRWA for open positions. It was not clear Tuesday whether any of them have been rehired.

Trustees have directed questions about the investigation to Kirsten Hebert, the executive director of MRWA who did not respond to messages Tuesday regarding details in the warrant.

The sheriff’s office was notified by a trustee in October after “a concerned citizen” had accused Corson and Jordan of selling the water lines to the scrap metal dealer, according to the warrant, which was filed by sheriff’s Detective Wilfred Dodge.


Authorities say Jordan had used equipment belonging to the district to facilitate the sale of the old water lines, and that he had also used the equipment to dispose of his own metal.

Jordan told investigators that when he started working for the district eight years ago, Corson told him that any scrap metal left over from projects is taken to a local dealer “and the money from the scrap metal gets split up between all the employees,” according to the warrant.

After selling lines to the scrap dealer, Jordan would have a check made out to himself, cash the check and then split the money among his colleagues — a practice that he told investigators “has always been done this way,” the warrant said. He told investigators he did not believe there was any wrongdoing because this was how he was told to conduct business.

After being questioned by authorities, Jordan asked Corson what he should tell trustees when he was asked about the matter. Corson said he was unsure, “but if he tells them the truth, (Corson) could lose his job and the employees could lose their jobs,” the warrant said.

A public listing for a number associated with Corson was disconnected. Court records show Corson has hired an attorney, but that lawyer was not identified. Efforts to reach Jordan for comment have been unsuccessful.

The water district serves about 1,800 customers and is not a municipal department of Anson or Madison. The Richmond-based MRWA provides training, technical assistance and other services to water districts and other organizations in the state.

The Anson-Madison district’s Facebook page has not been updated since October and has not made any mention of the theft charges, the dismissals or operations having been turned over to MRWA. The district’s website still has Corson listed as superintendent. It was not clear Tuesday if the district’s customers had been notified of the recent allegations or terminations.

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