No charges against Camden official following impersonation investigation
Camden — A more than year-long investigation by state police into allegations of impersonation against Camden's Economic Development Director Brian Hodges will not result in charges. Hodges confirmed Monday, Jan. 14, he received confirmation from Kennebec and Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney that the investigation has ended, and no charges will result.
Hodges said he "was confident" no charges would be filed in the matter, despite a lengthy investigation.
State police began investigating Hodges on Oct. 17, 2011, after Maine Community Economic and Development Director George Gervais complained to police that someone was sending emails to state employees that gave the impression they had been sent by acting Deputy Economic and Development Commissioner Deb Neuman. According to previously published reports, Gervais indicated he suspected Hodges was responsible for the emails at the time of his initial complaint to state police.
The emails came from the address firstname.lastname@example.org with the screen name "Deb N." Neuman has a small business-themed radio show called Back to Business. Neuman took the post of deputy commissioner in July 2011; Hodges was once employed in the position filled by Neuman, according to previously published reports.
Neuman resigned from the position of deputy commissioner in September 2012, according to previously published reports.
The state police issued a subpoena to Google Inc. on Oct. 20, 2011, to get subscriber information with the Gmail account backtobusinessradio. The state police later obtained subpoenas to Time Warner and Midcoast Internet Solutions. The information received from them found the backtobusinessradio account had been created at 2:25 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, with a computer at Camden Town Office, according to previously published reports.
The state police computer crimes unit subsequently obtained search warrants on Dec. 20, 2011, to seize the computer and computer records from Hodges' home computer at his residence in West Gardiner and his office computer at Camden Town Office, according to previously published reports.
Hodges said Jan. 14 he initially learned the investigation ended on Jan. 11. He said he first heard the news through a media inquiry and was unable to comment since neither he or his attorney had received direct information from the district attorney regarding the matter. Hodges said he believes the investigation was concluded in June 2012.
"While I was disappointed that [the result of the investigation] was not brought to my attention earlier I am thankful to [Kennebec and Somerset County] district attorney Maeghan Maloney for confirming that the case has been dropped," he said.
Maloney was elected to a two-year term as district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset County in November 2012. She succeeded former district attorney Alan Kelley, according to previously published reports.
Hodges was hired as Development Director in Camden in March 2011, he is the first Development Director employed by the town since the position was created after Camden voters approved a line item to provide funding for the job in June 2010.
Prior to taking the development director post in Camden, Hodges was employed by the state for about 20 years, according to previously published reports. He had most recently worked as the deputy commissioner at the state economic development department, a position he was appointed to in 2010, he had worked in the state community and economic development department since 2006, he said. Hodges confirmed that his previous employment with the state included positions at the state Labor Department and the Department of Revenue Services.
Hodges said his employment status in Camden did not change during or because of the investigation. He is a full-time, permanent employee of the town, he said.
"It's a relief to finally be able to put this to rest. I really want to thank my family, friends and the community for sticking by me through this whole ordeal," he said, adding the news no charges will be filed is a "proverbial weight off [his] shoulders."
Hodges said the seized computers have not yet been returned, but his attorney is "working on" retrieving those machines.
According to state law, the offense of impersonating a state official is a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail.
Calls to Maloney's office seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com