Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: CMP must renounce tactics

Throughout the signature gathering process for the referendum to stop the CMP corridor, I occasionally heard accounts of volunteers who were harassed by a sharp dressed man while out collecting signatures at events. One young woman told me that she felt that she had been followed while delivering petitions to town offices for certification.

I didn’t want to believe that there was anything to these stories other than paranoia, but this week CMP tipped their hand, revealing that they had in fact hired a private investigator to dig up dirt on opponents of the project in an effort to discredit the hard work of hundreds of volunteers.

This is a shocking and frightening revelation, and to say our team is rattled is an understatement.

It is still unclear the lengths CMP went to during this investigation into private individuals, but we do know their male investigator spent an alarming amount of time stalking one young woman in particular.

That’s right, CMP paid a private investigator, with money the company makes from your electric bill, to stalk a young woman, and they apparently have no shame about it.

In fact, they used the findings of this sketchy stalking mission in a filing with the Secretary of State’s Office to attempt to cast shade on our momentous effort to give the voters of Maine a say on this project. But all they really did is show just how low they will stoop to make this $1 billion corridor a reality.

It’s difficult to read through their filing without being disturbed. The document reveals that CMP’s hired man tailed a young woman for four days, loitering outside of the building she was working from, spying on her through a window, stalking her online accounts, pulling her vehicle registration and even calling her employer. At one point, the lurking investigator followed her into the building.

And what did this PI find? The young woman carried a box and picked up paper. That’s it. That’s what CMP is building a case off of to throw out thousands of signatures, disenfranchising nearly 70,000 voters who signed petitions to bring this destructive project to a statewide vote.

And the filing only illustrated one example of the private investigator’s efforts, raising questions about how widespread the investigator’s activities were. CMP appears to be targeting their most active opponents, opening up questions about who else - volunteers, voters, lawmakers, legislators, or even reporters - may have been part of this sketchy spy operation.

When we started this effort last fall, I was warned that CMP would go to great lengths to see this project through, and that things would get personal and messy, but I never imagined anything like what has taken place. This is a horrifying new low in Maine politics. CMP has crossed a red line and Maine voters; legislators and regulators cannot stand for this type of intimidation.

For many corridor opponents, we are truly jarred by this news. We don't know how far CMP will go. Our families are involved, our friends are involved, and we have plenty of anecdotal evidence of volunteers around the state feeling as if they were followed or watched.

CMP's new CEO, David Flanagan, needs to renounce and put a stop to these tactics, as well as release all information - including the names of those targeted - that CMP has gathered through this outrageous intimidation campaign. Flanagan was brought in, according to CMP, to rehabilitate the company's worst-in-the-nation rating. You can't simultaneously stalk your customers and claim to be trying to fix a rotten corporate culture.

Regardless of where you stand on the referendum, CMP must not be allowed to get away with this unethical, creepy behavior. This is not politics as usual - it is harassment - plain and simple, and yet another in a long list of examples of why the people of Maine don't trust CMP.

Sandi Howard
Director, Say NO to NECEC

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13 Responses »

  1. Sandi... just more proof that it is a dangerous world out there... you never know who or what is lurking around every corner. Along the same line I was just outside looking at some strange clouds.. I think they are trying to get at us from above also..

  2. If a corporation with foreign connections can legally hire private investigators to follow those who are collecting signatures for a Maine State Referendum, then, this law must be changed immediately. I have to wonder what would have happened to me if l had hired a private investigator to follow the head of CMP’s PAC Jon Breed around, call his employer for information, and run his registration.

    I for one, think this is unethical, just as unethical as their cohort Hydro-Québec for paying the big bucks too influence a Maine Citizens Referendum vote.

    Folks, if these tactics by CMP and their partners don’t prove to you by now that the Corridor is a “for profit merchant line” being sold as a “necessity for Maine” and a “good deal” by money hungry companies then nothing will.

    Ask yourselves a question. Do you really think that CMP and their business partners would hire private investigators because the Maine Citizens Referendum may succeed, and prevent them from reducing green house gases?

    CMP is spending money to make money. Selling a line too sell a project. And now tracking people too keep the Citizens referendum from putting them off track.....

    Maine deserves better.

  3. When I read Glen's condescending comment I almost fainted with surprise.
    Just like when ol' HB writes in and waves the corporate flag around.

    It must have crawled a long way up where the sun don't shine for you guys when people started questioning this scam..


    Thank you to anyone seeking the truth.
    Thank You Sandi.

  4. This issue has been quite dramatic right from the start, at least from the perspective of one side. Most calm and collective Mainers see this project as a move in the right direction for the State and the New England region. In a few years, after all the wind mills and solar plants have exhausted the good money and patience of the Maine ratepayers, the power from this project will keep producing consistently at reasonable costs. And hardly a word will be heard of it's existence.

  5. I am not necessarily a fan of the corridor

    Inasmuch as the Sec of state has found over 12,00 improper signatures I'm not so sure that CMP/Clean Energy Matters is doing nothing more that protecting their interest, no one should expect to be a fair fight!

    "Clean Energy Matters filed an affidavit with the Maine Secretary of State’s Office last month contending that “in addition to her work organizing, supervising and otherwise assisting in the petition gathering effort for the Opponents, documents in your possession will show that (the woman, whose name was redacted from the affidavit) also notarized hundreds, and possibly thousands, of petitions.”

    If Ms Howard wants to be the outspoken advocate that she seems to wants to me she should expect the "heat" she may be getting If she is a "notary" she should know what the rules are and the scope her functions she performs as a notary

  6. Surprise!! Its a cruel world out there.. We are all victims of something... I really don't care one way or the other... I wish the effort that the effort that is put into this could be transferred over to the drug problem that in so damn prevalent in Maine... Any Idea how many have died the past year and how many so far this year... It is a serious problem... I am glad that you did not faint.. that could be bad also..

  7. ‘Every girl’s crazy bout a sharp dressed man’......ZZ Top
    Will you bleeding hearts give us a break?

  8. Seriously, what did people expect, CMP and parent to just roll over and die? "We are the grassroots, we represent nobody but ourselves, we can't control your business, but we'll try, so you have to bow down to our will because we are us." "Ok, ok, grassroots, we the evil CMP do surrender to your will as the whole world trembles at the searing heat of your fiery intellect."

    Cmp does a little oppo research and the Antis get weak in the knees.

    Hey Sandi, any word on that ethics investigation?

  9. Wednesday on my way home from work I stopped to read a sign at the entrance of the powerline crossing in Industry. I was surprised when a truck stopped and the guy inside started questioning what I was doing. After telling him I was just reading a sign that was posted there he continued to tell me that CMP had hired security to watch these sites. He wasn’t rude or anything I was just surprised to find that CMP is so paranoid that they have a security company riding around watching for vehicles to stop near a powerline crossing. I wonder if the snowmobilers have been questioned for riding the powerlines ? I personally can’t wait until I don’t need this subpar company any longer.

  10. Capt'
    Your "bravado" amused me this morning.
    You sure know how to get a laugh.

    I'm an opponent of this project in general.
    I'm a conservative Republican (TRUMP 2020).
    I'm rooting for Paul to return to Maine and save us from the Libs.
    So, I must love childish bullies (like u).
    I'm a military veteran who has worked his whole life.
    I get annoyed at career protesters and bleeding hearts.
    Not everyone opposes this thing for the reasons you think.
    But say whatever you like on here (bravo).
    If we were to discuss, you could be taught the truth.
    Wouldn't that be great.

    No corridor for Me.
    Thank you.

  11. Hrtlss,

    No one expected CMP to send out private investigators. Most likely CMP didn’t either until their stockholders put them in the hot seat. Kinda makes you wonder what CMP might try next.

    I think I’ll go buy a pair of cheap sunglasses.

  12. Theresa York, If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    The same is true in politics.