Stolen grass and cattle removal lead to some men’s recall vote in Lebanon


LEBANON – Residents of this southern Maine city will vote to recall several city leaders in a failure that stems from the chairman’s decision to take potted plants from a farmer.

Farmer Eric Kelley accused Select board chairman Charles Russell Jr. and board member Ernest “Butch” Lizotte Jr. of stealing $ 100,000 worth of plants, knowing that the farmer was in jail. In addition, local animal control officers took his cattle.

District Attorney Kathryn Slattery confirmed there was an investigation focused on a possible theft. But there was not enough evidence to prove the charges “beyond a reasonable doubt,” she told The Associated Press.

The anger over the marijuana episode apparently served as a tipping point for a recall effort targeting Russell, Lizotte and another person who visited the farm that night. The recall also targets a third selectman accused of missing half of this year’s meetings.

Russell, who grows medicinal marijuana for home use, consulted for a local pottery company and helped write the city’s marijuana ordinances, admitted to the Boston Globe that he took Kelley’s marijuana plants. . But he said he did it because he didn’t want the plants to fall “into the hands of the wrong people” while Kelley was in jail. He called it a “public safety” issue.

Michael Walsworth, a leader of the recall effort and a member of the city’s budget committee, said the marijuana incident was serious, but he is worried about other things that are under the radar.

“You can’t make that stuff up,” he told the newspaper.

The city of Lebanon disbanded its police force in 1991. The case was investigated by the state police. Private Patrick Hall wrote that Russell admitted he had no legal authority to take the plants, and he noted that his cattle appeared to be doing very well, the newspaper reported.

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