The Bremen Board of Selectmen discussed the arrest of the town’s attorney, Jonathan Hull, during an emergency meeting Monday, Aug. 13. The selectmen did not take action, deciding to monitor Hull’s case. All three expressed general support for Hull and satisfaction with his work.
Hull faces a felony theft charge and three other criminal charges in connection with allegations that he took thousands of dollars, which he later repaid, from a nonprofit that facilitates student exchanges between Bath and a city in Japan. Hull was the nonprofit’s treasurer at the time. He was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 8. (See “Local attorney accused of theft from nonprofit.”)
All three Bremen selectmen and Administrative Assistant Kelly Clancy attended the meeting Monday.
According to board Chair Wendy Pieh, the town received an email from Hull indicating his willingness to resign if the selectmen asked him to do so.
According to Nevins, the town retains Hull via a one-year contract.
Nevins said the contract is split into two payments and is paid through January 2019. A clause in the contract would allow the town to get out of it if necessary, according to Nevins.
In the email, Hull said he could not discuss the case further while the charges are pending. He indicated that the charges against him do not pertain to his legal practice in Damariscotta.
In a phone interview after the meeting, Pieh said Hull has been the town’s attorney for about 20 years.
At the meeting, Selectman Hank Nevins spoke on the town’s history with Hull. He said Hull became Bremen’s attorney after a previous board of selectmen ran into issues with a revaluation.
“At that time, the three-year terms were all up at the same time … no one wanted to run again. We were in court all the time and needed a whole new group,” Nevins said.
In a phone interview after the meeting, Nevins said the town hired Hull in 1990. Hull left the role in 2000 and was rehired as town attorney in 2009.
Nevins said Hull has never lost the town a case. In 2000, the board retained an attorney unfamiliar with municipal law and received poor advice, he said.
Selectman Boe Marsh said he has nothing but good things to say about his time working with Hull.
Pieh said Hull has assisted the town recently, aiding the ordinance review committee and planning board.
“Anything we ask him to do, he has done,” Pieh said.
Nevins said he is in favor of holding off on a decision until the resolution of the charges against Hull.
“He has been good to this town,” Nevins said.
The board reviewed suggestions from the Maine Municipal Association.
Clancy said that, per MMA, the contract permits the town to request Hull’s resignation.
Marsh asked if Hull has access to town funds.
Nevins said Hull does not have access to town funds, which are handled exclusively by the selectmen and the administrative assistant.
“We have to ask him to resign if he is disbarred. Otherwise we’ll make the decision based on whatever comes out of the investigation by making a decision that is best for the town. At that point, if we need to take action, we will,” Pieh said.