Dan Demeritt ’94, director of communications for Governor Paul LePage (R-Maine), resigned from his post on April 16 after facing some personal financial troubles. The announcement took place after Demeritt received notice that he is subject to possible foreclosure on five different properties he owns in the Augusta area.
The Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions reports that the number of residential mortgages in foreclosure throughout the state increased slightly during the last quarter of 2010.
In a public statement released by Adrienne Bennett, press secretary for LePage, Demeritt said that he has “several unresolved business issues,” which is his primary reason for stepping down. According to Mainebiz, Demeritt owes approximately $500,000 in unpaid principal, interest and late charges to the bank.
Demeritt has a long history in Maine politics. One of his past jobs was as communications director for the Maine House of Representatives. He also played different roles on the staff of U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), including political director during her successful campaign for U.S. senator in 1996.
In addition to his recent work with LePage, Demeritt also owns a pizzeria, the Pizza Connection, in Augusta, as well as four rental properties in the Augusta area. However, the negative local economy has affected business at his restaurant, as well as his ability to fill units in his apartment buildings.
On April 9, one of his buildings in Randolph burned down due to arson, though police have yet to find the perpetrator. Local investigators suspect that one of Demeritt’s residents could have started the fire; however, Maine’s Department of Public Safety has not filed any formal charges.
Demeritt’s experience with business management corresponded with LePage’s plan for making Maine more “open for business,” one of the new state mottos. He served as the public face for the LePage administration during its first three months in office. Demeritt was also involved throughout the 2010 gubernatorial campaign as LePage’s press secretary, expanding his role as LePage’s communications director in the governor-elect transition.
Demeritt has been concerned for fellow small business owners throughout his time in the governor’s office. “Maine's working families and Maine's small business is an endangered species in this state," he said in a press release last January.
Demeritt is leaving his job to tend to financial matters related to his small business. According to the Portland Press Herald, his administrative post with LePage pays him more than $81,000 a year.
"I am resigning from Governor LePage's staff to attend to these matters," Demeritt said in a press release. "I wish the governor and his staff complete success."
LePage has been supportive of Demeritt’s decision to resign. In a public statement from Press Secretary Bennett, LePage and his staff “wish Mr. Demeritt the best with his future endeavors.”
The vacancy left by Demeritt’s resignation has yet to be filled by a replacement. Though, his resignation will not cause any major disruption to the daily function of the state government administration.