PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine ethics commission has levied $500,000 in fines against the four committees behind a referendum that, if approved Nov. 7, would allow a casino in York County.

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices levied the fine Friday.

The Portland Press Herald reported the fine is almost 10 times the commission’s previous record fine.

Voters will decide next week if entrepreneur Shawn Scott can run a casino in York County.

Emails released by the five-member ethics commission late Wednesday detail communications among the Scotts, Timberlake and other associates as the casino drive progressed.

The commission voted in June to investigate the ballot question committee Horseracing Jobs Fairness, where it got its financing to collect signatures to put the casino referendum on the ballot and why it failed to meet finance report filing deadlines. Three other ballot question committees formed by Lisa Scott were swept into the investigation and all four were penalize.

The records also include financial reports and other emails that show how Shawn Scott and partners, one of whom was based in Cambodia, were the key people in the $4.5 million push to gather signatures and get the casino proposal on the ballot.

Scott’s sister, Lisa Scott, of the Horseracing Job Fairness committee gave conflicting accounts about Shawn Scott’s role and what she knew about it.

Lisa Scott’s attorney, Bruce Merrill, said the fine was “grossly disproportionate” to any violation of law and it was “hard to fathom” how the commissioners reached their decision. He said she will appeal.


Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com