The former superintendent of the Anson-Madison Water District is once again facing criminal charges of theft for what authorities say was the illegal sale of old district water lines to a scrap dealer, Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties, said Monday.

Michael Corson, 52, was indicted Feb. 24 by a grand jury on a felony count of Class B theft and another felony count of Class C theft. The indictment was under seal for weeks due to a pending search warrant, Maloney said.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office announced in December that charges had been brought against Corson and also the district’s former foreman. But Maloney said in February her office was no longer moving forward with the case, saying at the time that new evidence was brought to light.

She explained Monday by text that an attorney for Corson offered a defense for Corson’s actions and the district attorney’s office needed time to investigate that explanation. Once that inquiry was done, all materials were forwarded to the grand jury to review, leading to the indictment, Maloney said.

“We cannot allow corruption in our public organizations,” she said. “The public gives us their trust and their hard-earned tax dollars and that must never be abused.”

Although the former foreman was previously charged, he was not indicted by the grand jury last month and does not appear to be facing any charges now.


The indictment comes as the water district’s board of trustees has filed a federal lawsuit against Corson accusing him of undermining district operations by altering passwords and taking other actions to prevent trustees from accessing district accounts, software and email.

Trustees say in the lawsuit filed March 8 in U.S. District Court in Bangor that Corson changed the password to his work-issued cellphone, Amazon accounts and for mapping and billing software applications. The moves jeopardized the district’s “ability to carry on normal operations,” the lawsuit contends.

Corson had access to QuickBooks, RVS Utility Billing Systems and ArcGIS, used for mapping purposes, the lawsuit said. Corson, who served as superintendent from 1995 until his firing in the fall, had “exclusive control” of the district’s email during that time.

The sheriff’s office began its investigation in October when the office received a tip from a trustee after a person aired concerns about the sale of old district water lines.

Trustees announced Dec. 14 that they had contracted with Maine Rural Water Association to manage all operations. Court documents showed that Corson was placed on paid administrative leave by trustees for arranging the sale of the lines “as well as other issues” related to his job performance.

Corson at the time “was told to cease performing work for the district and to stay off its property,” according to the lawsuit. He was also required to turn in his work-issued iPhone.


Trustees allege in the lawsuit that Corson on Oct. 27 and again on Nov. 22 used his administrative credentials to access district accounts and change passwords. They also say he used his personal email as the administrator service account that receives links to reset passwords.

Corson was terminated Nov. 29, the lawsuit said.

Neither the trustees nor the Maine Rural Water Association has been able to access any accounts or applications. Corson denied changing the passwords and referred trustees to a Rolodex containing what he said were the passwords for district accounts, the lawsuit said.

The MRWA has worked with outside IT agencies in an attempt to gain access, the lawsuit said, as well as with the FBI, the Homeland Security Administration, Maine Emergency Management Agency and others.

“Corson’s acts of accessing the district email account and software applications and changing their passwords has jeopardized the district’s ability to function by depriving it of access to basic financial, billing and operational information,” the lawsuit said.

In an email Monday, an attorney for Corson said he was previously aware of the grand jury action but the attorney did not address the latest charges or the allegations in the lawsuit. An attorney for the trustees declined to comment.

A copy of the initial search warrant that was submitted by the sheriff’s office late last year and obtained by the Morning Sentinel indicated that more than $12,000 was collected from the sale of discontinued utility lines to a scrap metal dealer. The sales happened over 21 separate transactions from March to October. Only $500 out of the $12,000 in proceeds was deposited into a district account.

As a result of the district’s agreement with MRWA, all district employees — about a half-dozen people — were terminated or laid off. At least one of them was rehired. All positions have since been filled.

An arraignment date has not yet been set for Corson, according to Maloney.

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