Is a potential politician in Maine breaking its own laws?

Michele Meyer needs to do some explaining. Ignorance of the law?

This afternoon, I watched as Jay Meyer turned from Bolt Hill Road to Hanscom Road in Eliot and ran the properly posted stop sign. He pulled over to the side of the road and got out to put up a political sign. He was in fact driving his NH registered Honda Pilot. The vehicle is registered to his NH business.  Michele, a candidate for House District #2. who was sitting in the drivers seat was reading something.

The fact is, the vehicle was being used for campaigning (putting out campaign signs) which is Personal Use and is based, parked and garaged at their house on Ordiorne lane in Eliot Maine.

This is a clear violation of Maine Law. The ironic thing is that Michele is campaigning for Maine House District 2 driving with her husband in the NH registered vehicle. They have done this for many many years. Tonight they were installing campaign signs for Michele Meyer. How much money did Eliot lose in excise taxes on this truck? Enough for a senior citizen to get a tank of oil or other Eliot programs. How much did Maine lose on Sales tax, over $1000.00 dollars for State Aid or other programs such as education.

If she is elected, not to worry, she will most likely get free State of Maine House plates.

Michele Meyer owes the public an explanation.  Michele Meyer is running for Maine House District 2.  (Kittery, Eliot and South Berwick)  For those who do not know Michele, she was a Citizen Watchdog that held politicians accountable in Eliot Maine. But Michele has some explaining to do for herself; she has vehicles registered in NH (albeit to a business owned by her husband), at their residence in Eliot Maine. This is based on personal knowledge and her own truthful admission to me during a recent phone call I had with her. Michele contends that these vehicles are exempt and since their her husbands, and it is not her problem. However,  under Maine Law they are not exempt and she should know this.

You decide.

I applaud her Citizen Watchdog philosophy. This is Michelle’s quote from the Portsmouth Herald in November 16, 2017.

“We have demonstrated that monitoring the activity of town government and holding our elected, appointed, and paid officials accountable can bring positive change. CARE believes that good government can only be achieved through a checks and balance system that includes the watchful eye of the people.” Michelle Meyer Eliot Maine

See the full article here.

Over the last 35 plus years, I have advocated for a law that requires people who live in Maine, register there cars in this State. Those people, who don’t, cost us, the taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Even business vehicles are not exempt. (See Case Law Below).

The next video is an infomercial I made in 2009 before I retired from the Kittery Police Department. It says it all.

I was recently made aware that Jay and Michele Meyer still had NH registered vehicles parked at their home on Odiorne Ln and I recalled their prior home on State Rd in Eliot Maine where I had observed out of State plates parked there.

Perhaps you used to drive by there as well. The ironic thing was that they used to live next to my co-worker, a Kittery Police Detective and my boss, the Kittery Police Chief. This was before the Meyers moved to Odiorne Lane In Eliot Maine.

I received calls from people in my district, who suggested that Michele Meyer had recently registered her vehicle in Maine before she started to run for office. If this were true, it would be wrong on so many levels. Being who I am, I contacted her via email and by phone.

I spoke to Michele on the phone and we talked for over 15 minutes.  I found her a little annoyed with me (understandably) , but polite and articulate and professional. As I told her the reason I was calling, she told me that she was made aware of my concerns from various web sites.

I explained to her that I was in her district and that I received information that her husband and her had NH registered vehicles parked in their yard for over 30 days. She retorted,  that her vehicle is registered in Maine. I then told her I knew of her husbands vehicle which definitely had New Hampshire plates.

Michele said that I needed to speak with JAY (her husband) and that it is not her problem since they belong to her husband’s business. She added she is the one running for the Maine House not him. She also told me that during her residency in Eliot (25 years) she has always had her Subaru registered in Maine.

Michele was gracious enough to suggest that we could go look at the Eliot Town Hall records and verify that she has always registered this Subaru in Maine.  I declined since records are only required to be kept for 5 years and this Subaru is certainly not 25 years old.

Michele told me that a recent legal opinion through her husbands business suggested that it was perfectly legal and she added that Jay had just consulted them. Michele told me that this was done after they learned I was raising the issue.

I did believe she was trying to be accommodating and was offering full transparency based on her assertions that this Subaru was registered in Maine. The fact is the law is clear and that the vehicle owned by her husband’s business was required to registered in Maine under Maine Law. As a candidate running for Maine State Rep, she should be aware of this law. Michelle asked me if I was going to bring this up at the candidate’s forum in Kittery and I told her that I would be.

On October 25th, 2018 Michele Meyers was at the States Candidates night hosted by Seacoast Media Group. She was asked two questions. It was about the Registration Law. which incidentally she was made aware of. earlier in the day. Here is the video.

Question one: If elected would you uphold this law?

Question two : How do you recommend strengthening this law.?

Keep in mind that Michele clearly knew that this question concerning registration plates was coming and even mentioned my name, though it was not told to the candidates. Remember less then 2 hours ago; she advised me that she had a N.H. registered vehicle in her yard that belongs to her husbands business in N.H.

Did she answer the question? I will leave it up you.

It is the written Law in this State enacted by the legislators, the very group she wants to be elected to. I only wish she answered the questions like the rest of them did!

Here is the full video of the questions with all the candidates. See how they answer the question.

Dean Rykerson wants to add additional provisions to it. Dan Ammons told me he wants it enforced and is in full support of the Law. Mr. Ammons had a prior family commitment with family and could not attend the event. With respect to this question, listen to the answers from all the candidates who were present at the forum.

Michele could have got out in front of this and explain there has been some questions being asked about her husbands vehicles being registered in N.H. and be transparent. I don’t see transparency here, do you.?

In case you may not know, I have been educating and advocating the enforcement of the Maine Registration Evasion of Excise taxes in Maine since 1985. I worked with two Governors (Baldacci (D) and Lepage (R) ) on this law as well as many State representatives, the Late Walter Wheeler, Dawn Hill, David Ott and Former Senator Kenneth Lemont just to name a few.

This is a non partisan issue and affects every one of us. When people who are required to register their motor vehicles in Maine don’t, Maine loses.  They evade Registration Fees and Excise Taxes. Many do not pay income taxes or have motor vehicle insurance. New Hampshire does not require income tax or insurance on their vehicles. This act is costing Maine millions in itself.  We are talking well over 20 million in income taxes each year based on estimates.

Prior to retiring from the Kittery Police Department, we often would work with the State of Maine Bureau of Taxation and seek to recoup lost income taxes from these registration scofflaws. In some case the collection of back taxes went back several years.

Yes, some out of State registrations are exempt. The law is clear on this.  Active Duty Military and Students attending Maine Schools are the exemptions. The law is equally clear that even business vehicles registered to a business are not exempt. It has been highly publicized by the Portsmouth Herald and New Center Stations for many years. Massachusetts has the same problem. (SEE THE ARTICLE LINKS BELOW).

It is my opinion, if the professionals did indeed give Jay and Michele advice, they are interpreting the law wrong and skewing it to the advantage of their clients.  Case Law has been established and those vehicles based on my training, countless cases, Maine case law (below is one of many) and written Law suggests that these N.H. plates are in violation of the very Law I was once sworn to uphold. (See Case law below)

The law is simple, by not following the Law, Maine and its citizens are losing millions and we end up paying their share.  In some cases, in the State of New Hampshire, it is a felony to register a motor vehicle there when you live in in another State. It falls under Title Fraud.

I carefully weighed my decision to go public and decided that her own words inspired me. Michele should be transparent and should be held accountable where she herself demands it and being a candidate for political office makes no difference. Perhaps in itself this can bring positive change.

I am sure you will make up your own mind as you should, but as Michele made clear a few years ago, citizens need to be watching. I made mine up and in my opinion, if she can’t reconcile this issue, sending Michelle to the State House is like hiring a FOX TO GUARD YOUR CHICKENS.

In order to be fair, I emailed Michele Meyer and asked if she would like to contribute to this article. I did receive a response “

“I’ve have repeatedly informed you that I drive and have always driven a vehicle registered in Maine. I support the current law on this issue and support your work with Rep. Rykerson to improve on it should there be any ambiguity to be addressed or additional policy required on the matter.” Michele Meyer

According to the State of Maine, the Meyer’s had at least one vehicle registered in Maine. The NH business vehicle is driven by her husband and they do use the vehicle for personal business in Maine. They were caught.


Significant Maine Case Law

DOCKET NO. VB-ill. 001134894
On April 28, 2001 Defendant Edmond E. Loughlin was summonsed by a Kittery Police Officerfor the civil infraction of “Evasion of Registration Fees and Excise Taxes,” 29-A M.R.S.A. §514. The trial of this action was conducted on July 3, 2001. Assistant District Attorney John Connelly appeared on behalf of the State and Defendant Loughlin appeared pro se. The Courthas carefully considered the evidence presented and hereby sets forth its decision.
I. Loughlin has resided at 2 Captain’s Way, Kittery Point, Maine since 1999. On or about
April 1, 2001 Loughlin sought a “Fort Foster Permit” from the Kittery Town Clerk. The Town
Clerk denied Loughlin’s request, however, because Loughlin was unable to produce a Maine vehicle registration. Loughlin instead presented the registration for his 2001 Saab which reflects that the vehicle is registered in New Hampshire under the name of Izzy’s Premium Frozen Yogurt (hereinafter, “Izzy’s”). Loughlin is the sole proprietor of Izzy’s, a frozen yogurt business based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Loughlin leased his Saab from Saab Leasing Company, Inc. through a New Hampshire auto dealer. As a leased vehicle, the Saab remains titled in Saab Leasing Co., Inc.’s name, but is registered in New Hampshire in the name of Izzy’s as the lessee.
Loughlin’s request for a Fort Foster Permit brought him and his New Hampshire
registered vehicle to the attention of the Chief of the Kittery Police Department. A Kittery
Police officer thereafter interviewed Loughlin and learned that Loughlin uses the car for both personal and business purposes. The Saab was observed by the Kittery Police officer at Loughlin’s residence in Kittery Point on numerous occasions. Loughlin refused the police officer’s request that he register the vehicle in Maine, resulting in the issuance of the
summons which is the subject of this action.

II. Title 29-A, section 514 states in pertinent part:
A person required to register a vehicle in this State who instead registers
the vehicle in another state or province or who fails to register a vehicle in this
State is guilty of evasion of registration fees and excise taxes. Violation of this
section is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no less than $500 nor
more than $1,000.
The requirement that residents of Maine register their vehicles is established by 29-A M.R.S.A. § 351: “The owner of a vehicle that is operated or remains on a public way is responsible for registering the vehicle.” Although the vehicle is titled in the name of the lessor, Saab Leasing Co., Inc., the lessor is not the exclusive “owner” of the vehicle for purposes of Maine’s registration requirements because an “owner” includes an individual “having exclusive right to the use of the vehicle for a period of 30 or more days.” Here, Loughlin, in the name of his business Izzy’s, has the exclusive use of the Saab for a period of 30 or more days. A “resident” as used in section 351 is defined in Title 29-A, section 62, as follows: ”

Resident” means a person who has declared or established residency
in this State or has been domiciled in this State for a period of at least 30 days,
except for persons in compliance with section 109, subsection 1. Except for a
person in compliance with section 109, subsection 1, a person is deemed to be
a resident:
A. For all vehicles owned by that person that are garaged
or maintained in this State: or
B. If engaged in the business of renting you-drive or you-haul
vehicles for an apportioned share of all vehicles based on the
ratio of the mileage of vehicles operated in this State to the total
mileage of vehicles operated both within and without the State.
Loughlin is a “resident” for purposes of section 62 because he had established residency in
Maine for a period of at least 30 days prior to April 8, 2001. He nonetheless believes that he is not required to register his car in Maine because it is leased by his business, Izzy’s, and is
registered in New Hampshire, the location of its principal use during business hours. Loughlin’s position is premised upon the assumption that Izzy’s has a legal identity separate from him. As of April 8, 2001 Izzy’s was organized as a sole proprietorship wholly owned by Loughlin. Loughlin testified that in June 2001 he reorganized Izzy’s as a limited liability company in New Hampshire, but there was no testimony offered as to whether the lease agreement for the Saab
was transferred from Izzy’s as a sole proprietorship to Izzy’s as a limited liability company.
A sole proprietorship is “A form of business in which one person owns all assets of the
business in contrast to a partnership and corporation. The sole proprietor is solely liable for all the debts of the business.” Black’s Law Dictionary (Fifth ed.). A sole proprietorship does not have a legal or commercial identity separate from the proprietor, other than the name under which it conducts business. It is not, therefore, a “person” for purposes of Maine’s motor vehicle statutes: “‘Person’ means an individual, corporation, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, fiduciary, trust, estate or any other legal or commercial entity.” 29-A M.R.S.A. § 101(54).
For the foregoing reasons the Court concludes that Loughlin violated 29-A M.R.S.A. §
514 because he is a Maine resident obligated to register his Saab, leased in the name of his sole proprietorship Izzy’s, in Maine, but who instead registered the vehicle in another state. This conclusion is buttressed by the fact that even if Izzy’s is viewed as having a separate legal or commercial identity from Loughlin, it is still required to register the Saab in Maine because the vehicle is “garaged or maintained in this State;.” 29-A M.R.S.A. § 62(A). A vehicle is principally garaged in “the physical location where [it] is primarily or chiefly kept or where it is kept most of the time.” Chalef v. Ryerson, 648 A.2d 1139 (N.J. Super. 1994). In this case, the physical location where the Saab is primarily or chiefly kept is Loughlin’s residence in Kittery Point, Maine.
As previously noted, the range of fines for a violation of 29-A M.R.S.A. § 514 is no less
than $500 and no more than $1,000. In arriving at a fine amount in this case there are several mitigating facts worthy of consideration. Loughlin has no prior violations of section 514 or Maine’s motor vehicle laws. He testified that he consulted with both his accountant and attorney prior to registering the Saab in New Hampshire and acted in accordance with their advice. Finally, soon after being contacted by the Kittery Police, Loughlin contacted the office of the Maine Secretary of State in order to seek information from that agency about where he is required to register his car. Loughlin’s clean record and his affirmative efforts to comply with the law counsel in favor of the minimum fine of $500, plus surcharges. Date: July 17, 2001

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