The former chief financial officer for the Maine Turnpike Authority threatened, intimidated and humiliated employees for years and used his close relationship with board members and his institutional knowledge to insulate himself from accountability, according to a scathing internal report.

The 17-page document, which was presented to the authority’s board of trustees during an executive session this month and obtained by the Press Herald, also outlines several recommendations to “reevaluate the (agency’s) structural makeup and repair and improve employee relationships.”

Doug Davidson Photograph taken from MTA YouTube video

Although the report did not include any names and used only titles, the subject of the allegations was the former chief financial officer and treasurer. Only one person had held that title prior to last year – Doug Davidson.

Reached by phone late Wednesday afternoon, Davidson said he knew nothing about the report and had no idea the agency was looking into his conduct. After he was provided with a copy, Davidson said he was equally surprised by its contents.

“The accusation here is that I was mean to people, I guess,” he said. “I had 500 employees and many directors. Not all of them are going to like you.”

Peter Mills, executive director for the turnpike, confirmed Wednesday that the report was authentic, and that the investigation was initiated sometime after Davidson left the agency last summer. The report was prepared by John C. Alfano, a professional arbitrator and mediator based in Biddeford. Alfano said he could not discuss its contents and referred questions to turnpike officials.


Mills appeared caught off guard when reached by a reporter on Wednesday and provided only short answers to questions about the report.

“The report speaks for itself,” said Mills, who has led the agency since 2011.

He said there “has been no mystery internally about this document,” but also questioned how the Press Herald ended up with a copy.

About an hour after the interview, Mills sent an email in which he urged the Press Herald “to consider carefully whether publication is appropriate.”

“As you can tell, this is a personnel matter that was never intended for public consumption,” he wrote. “If there is risk of causing damage to someone’s reputation, it seems reasonable to think twice before deciding whether and what to publish or release.”

The Maine Turnpike Authority is a quasi-governmental agency that operates the 109-mile highway from Kittery to Gardiner. Its annual operating budget of about $133 million, most of which pays contract costs for various projects, is paid for entirely with revenue from tolls. It is not part of the Maine Department of Transportation, which is responsible for all other state routes and highways.


Mills, the brother of Gov. Janet Mills, took over leadership after a period of controversy at the turnpike authority. His predecessor, Paul Violette, was caught stealing between $150,000 and $230,000 from the agency in the form of credit card purchases and gift cards for personal use from 2003 to 2010. Violette lost his job and also spent 3 ½ years in prison.


Davidson was one of the top executives under Violette and stayed on after Mills took over.

Peter Mills

According to the report, which relied on interviews with numerous turnpike employees, the problems originated following Violette’s sudden and high-profile departure.

Shortly after that happened, the agency’s second highest-ranking employee retired, leaving Davidson as the remaining employee with detailed knowledge of the agency’s operations.

“That combination of events caused a vacuum that the former CFO stepped up to fill,” the report said. “He always had the answers for the board and Mills, especially in the early days, which should have been healthy and productive for the turnpike. However, he had his own agenda that with his behavior caused the events that initiated this evaluation.”


According to the report, Davidson worked to collect personal information on employees, which he used to “threaten, intimidate and humiliate employees, primarily to control and force them to do his bidding. No one was immune. He gathered information by any means necessary to use for his advantage.”

The report also claims Davidson leveraged his relationship with board members to keep employees from lodging complaints and also “convinced them that the ‘whistle-blower’ line was not secure and that he would know who complained because of his position.”

“Over time, victimized employees believed they had to suffer his abuse because there was no safe place to complain.”

The report further alleges that Davidson created “silos” in the agency so that all information would funnel to him. He insisted that he attend all meetings and then used them to make inappropriate comments or criticize their work.

“New and different ideas were discouraged unless they were his,” the report said. “Too often directors’ ideas and suggestions were rejected out of hand. They had to develop ‘work arounds’ by making him think their ideas were his. Highly paid and talented employees had to waste time catering to his ego; time that could have been spent more productively.”



The turnpike is overseen by a seven-member board of trustees, appointed by the governor. The current chair is Dan Wathen. A former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, he also chairs the commission investigating last year’s mass shooting in Lewiston.

The report concluded that trustees were not aware of Davidson’s behavior, “although too many employees believe that the board knew or should have known but did not care.”

“Similarly, the executive director appears not to have been fully aware of his behavior, although employees believe he knew or should have known especially since the former CFO methodically took over most of the turnpike’s daily operations,” the report stated. “Consequently, employees lost trust in the executive director and the board, and were too fearful to go to either with their complaints.”

Despite a high level of dysfunction, “the turnpike functioned well, which is testimony to the employees’ commitment and dedication to their jobs.,” the report said.

Asked how he could not have known about one of his top employees’ conduct, Mills said there were “many facets to this.”

“He’s a very smart man,” Mills said.


Davidson said he got along with Mills but referred to him as a “politician,” and not someone who was involved in day-to-day operations.

“Peter is not a detail person,” Davidson said. “He didn’t want to deal with issues, so he sent me to deal with them.”

Davidson said he never heard complaints about his behavior. He did recall a dispute between an employee and a union representative a short time before he stepped down. Davidson said he was criticized for siding with the union, so that felt like a good time for him to find another career.

He now works for Shalom House, a Portland social services agency. He said he’s disappointed to see criticisms emerge so long after he left. He also was surprised that he wasn’t contacted by anyone at the agency or given an opportunity to participate in the investigation.

Messages left for several board members were not returned Wednesday.



A spokesman for Gov. Mills said in an email that the governor was not aware of the evaluation and has not read the report. Ben Goodman also said the board operates independently even though the governor appoints its members and the Legislature confirms them.

“Recognizing that the executive director of the Turnpike Authority is the governor’s sibling, the governor believes it is appropriate to not comment on the report in order to preserve the independent judgment of the board and whatever action it may deem necessary to uphold the interests of the Turnpike Authority,” Goodman said.

Among the recommendations outlined in the report were changing the structure of the board so that turnpike executives don’t also have a seat and creating another management position to ease the burden of the top executive.

Asked whether the agency is in a better position now, Peter Mills said yes.

“The process of reevaluating the management structure is a good one and it’s been productive,” he said.

The report, however, is not as optimistic.

“Although he has not been employed for almost 10 months, employees have said little has changed. The damage he caused is extensive. It may not go away merely by his absence,” the report states.

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