LePage signs pension bill in wake of MTA abuses | News
AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Governor Paul LePage signed a bill that will permit the courts to order the forfeiture of benefits of state employees who are convicted of certain crimes on Friday afternoon.
The law was crafted in the wake of a scandal involving Paul Violette, the former head of the Maine Turnpike Authority, who plead guilty to theft after buying gift cards with Turnpike Authority Funds and using them on himself. Despite his admittance of guilt, Violette will still be able to collect a $63,000 a year pension.
Minutes after Violette was sentenced to serve three and a half years in prison for his crimes, the governor signed the bill in the Cabinet Room at the Statehouse.
"It is unfortunate that this happened to Mr. Violette, I mean, I understood as the Representative has said, he did do some good things in his career, but you know temptation go to him," stated the governor. "So now we are just going to be put a bigger, stronger deterrent in there, that you are going to be sacrificing a lot more than just three years of your life, it could be the rest of your life."
The bill allows the courts to go after amounts credited to the account of a member of the Maine State Employees Retirement System to pay for any court-ordered restitution and enables the court to order the forfeiture of benefits if the employee is convicted of a Class C crime of greater.
Because the bill is not retrospective, Violette will still be able to collect the benefits he earned as head of the MTA.