March 29, 2020

Palesky group appeals petition rejection

AUGUSTA — Carol Palesky’s Maine Taxpayer’s Action Network has appealed the secretary of state’s rejection of its petition that would cap property taxes.

Palesky and MTAN spokesman Tom Crandall insisted at a news conference near the Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday that more than 3,000 signatures were improperly rejected. The appeal was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court on Monday, they said.

Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky announced Jan. 16 that Palesky’s anti-tax group fell 1,302 signatures short of forcing a statewide election. He also said his office had found 744 cases of tampering.

Palesky, 57, faces sentencing Tuesday for an aggravated forgery conviction stemming from the previous submission of another batch of tax-cap petitions. She could receive up to 10 years in prison.

But the Topsham activist tried to divorce her own case from the tax cap crusade.

“This is not a Carol Palesky issue,” she said. “This is a property tax issue and the signatures were not collected by me but by 400 volunteers.”

Gwadosky said he had expected the appeal but stood by his agency’s ruling.

“We did a very careful, very exhaustive review of these particular petitions and are very confident the numbers will, in fact, hold up,” he said.

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