TOPSHAM — On the eve of her sentencing for aggravated forgery of referendum petitions, anti-tax activist Carol Palesky found herself in more hot water with the law.
The 57-year-old Topsham woman faces charges of drunken driving and reckless conduct with an automobile after her arrest in Brunswick by officers who claimed she tried to run them over.
It was the latest piece of bad news for Palesky, who was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court for submitting illegally altered tax-cap referendum petitions to the secretary of state’s office in 1996.
Palesky, who faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the forgery conviction, learned Friday that a second petition drive she spearheaded failed to get enough signatures to force a statewide vote.
In determining that the petitions fell short of the legal minimum, officials said some of the signatures were eliminated as fraudulent.
Maintaining her innocence of both fraud and drunken driving, Palesky said the charges were part of an effort by the government to derail her attempts to drive down taxes.
“See how they’re coming after me,” she said. “If anyone didn’t believe I am suffering from political harassment before, I don’t know when they ever will.”
Palesky was arrested Saturday when she drove to the Allstate Insurance office because of a problem she was having about a claim for ice storm damage to her house.
Palesky blocked the parked car of an employee trying to leave the office, police said, and when officers arrived she refused to get out of the car and tried to run them over.
Sgt. Brett Strout smashed a window of Palesky’s 1995 Toyota Corolla with his nightstick in order to get her out from behind the wheel.
Palesky said she was unable to start the car and was not trying to block the Allstate worker. Asserting that she plans to sue the Brunswick department, she said she refused to get out of the car because she felt threatened by the officer.
Palesky said a blood test proves she had not been drinking, but Police Cpl. Shawn O’Leary said the test results have not yet been analyzed. He said Strout thought Palesky was drunk because of her behavior and the smell of alcohol on her breath.
Palesky declined comment on her fraud case, saying only that she planned to appeal the conviction regardless of the sentence she receives today.