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Sister sues state senator alleging misuse of money from family businesses

BANGOR, Maine — The sister of the assistant Republican leader of the Maine Senate has alleged in a lawsuit that he and other family members raided family-owned businesses during the past decade for their personal benefit and for Andre Cushing III‘s political campaigns.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court, Laura Cushing McIntyre of Hermon alleged her brother, his wife and their three children operated the companies fraudulently and were unjustly enriched by that fraud. She is asking that the corporations buy out her shares for fair market value or that they be dissolved and an equitable accounting of funds be ordered. McIntyre also is seeking punitive damages.

Cushing said Monday in an email that he has not yet been served with the complaint.

Attorney Bryan M. Dench of Auburn, to whom a copy of a letter that accompanied the complaint was sent, declined Monday in an email to confirm whether he is representing Cushing or the businesses.

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Dench did say that allegations in complaints are not statements of fact.

McIntyre claims that the corporations distributed at least $20,000 to Andre Cushing’s political campaigns. An unspecified amount went to his political action committee, the complaint alleged.

Loans totalling nearly $1.4 million allegedly were made from one corporation to another but just $150,000 was approved by shareholders, the complaint said. The family’s stock portfolio fell from more than $1.4 million in 1999 to less than $17,000 in 2014.

McIntyre also claims that since her father, Andre Cushing Jr., died in December 2013, her brother has exerted “control and undue influence over [their mother] Jane Cushing.”

“What is crystal clear from what we have discovered with the assistance of a highly experienced fraud examiner is that this corporation with its once significant assets was being illegally gutted, year in and year out,” McIntyre’s attorney Walter McKee of Augusta said Sunday in an email.

“The more we peeled back the layers the more it was obvious that this corporation was being sucked dry. It was the hydra’s head of financial discovery – every time we would find one questionable transaction two more would pop up.”

In addition to her brother, who lives in Newport, McIntyre sued his wife, Gwen Cushing of Newport, and their three children, Andre Cushing IV of Hampden, Grace Alyson Martin of Land O’Lakes, Florida, and Gerald Crommett Cushing of Newport. McIntyre also sued the Cushing Family Corp., in which she is a shareholder, the Colonial Contracting Corp., New England Forest Products, LLC, and New England Firewood LLC.

Andre Cushing III of Newport is completing his second term in the Maine Senate. He’s running for re-election against independent Dennis Marble.

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