ALFRED, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Jurors in the trial of former Ogunquit Town Manager Thomas Fortier told the judge they could not reach a unanimous decision.
Fortier was accused of stealing $400 in parking fees. Investigators say he instructed some teens working for the town to collect parking fees when parking should have been free, then pocketed the money. At least some of the jurors did not believe that happened.
Fortier was facing two charges, theft by unauthorized taking and official oppression.
Two teenage brothers who worked for the town testified Fortier instructed them to collect fees from vehicles parking in a town lot when, at the time, that parking should have been free. They also testified they saw Fortier pocket the money they collected.
Fortier claimed he never instructed the teens to take money and never saw any money being collected. Fortier’s attorney told jurors his client rubbed some people in town the wrong way with his brash and cocky style and this was nothing more than dirty politics to force him out. Neither he nor Thomas Fortier could say why the boys testified they way they did.
“He never wanted the boys to be involved in this, as he testified. Understand this is small-town politics and basically what we saw was a toxic cesspool of small town politics in the town of Ogunquit”, said Fortier's attorney Bruce Merrill.
After the judge declared a mistrial an emotional Thomas Fortier spoke about the impact this has had on him and his family.
“My kids and my wife, my mom and my dad had to listen to some of these things that were said and that’s really the unfortunate part about this whole case”, he said.
Fortier agreed to resign his position in February, provided the town continue to pay his salary through the end of June. The Assistant District Attorney who tried the case had no comment. It will be up to the DA’s to decide if it will retry the case against Fortier.
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