Recently, Scott Thistle wrote a great piece about the Ethics Commission’s case against two people who wanted to convince voters in 2011 to create a casino in Lewiston. The individuals, Stavros Mendros and Peter Robinson, are accused of not disclosing the identities of three shady donors.
Buried deep in the story was a reference to a group called “Dome Messaging.” This group received $355,000 of the inappropriately disclosed money but, the story said, “The individuals behind Dome Messaging remain unknown.” Thistle further stated that Mendros would not reveal who was behind the outfit due to a “non-disclosure” agreement.
Seemed curious to me that Mendros was working so hard to hide the identity of the corporation and, since the website of Dome Messaging revealed nothing, I did a little digging.
As anyone in politics knows, if someone buys TV advertising, there is a public record of who purchased the television time. Knowing that the pro-casino forces ran TV ads, I figured the folks at Dome Messaging must have placed the ads. Low and behold, they did. Here’s a link to one of their contracts at WGME 13.
When you look closely at the contract, you will see that the name of the buyer is Michaeleen Terrana. Not someone I was familiar with from Maine politics. However, a quick online search showed me immediately which high-profile individual in Maine politics she apparently works for. Below is her profile from Linkedin.
At first glance you might not see anything. Look more closely and you see that she works for “Littlefield and Associates Consulting” and indeed is the “Director, Republican Robocalls & Media Placement at Littlefield…”
Well, guess who is the president of “Littlefield and Associates Consulting”? None other than Brent Littlefield, Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s top political aide.
Once I figured out who it was, I knew immediately why they wanted to keep Dome Messaging secret. Because it wouldn’t look good to have the governor’s top advisor profiting from a casino that the governor was vocally campaigning against.
Littlefield may deny any connection by claiming it was Terrana’s previous employer, MCI WorldCom, that asked her place the buy (because, you know, international phone companies are very interested in Lewiston gambling) or maybe he will throw her under the bus and claim she went rogue.
Hopefully, he’ll just own up to the fact that he was behind Dome and that she placed the buy as his employee. “Honesty is the best policy,” as our grandmothers always used to say.
One small disclosure: When I attended the University of Maine, Mendros and Littlefield beat me and my colleague in a campaign to become student body president and vice president. However, now that I see the kind of shady stuff they are accused of, I might want to recheck those ballot boxes.
— Posted by Ethan Strimling