BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — State Assistant Senate Majority Leader Andre Cushing has found himself at the center of a lawsuit just weeks before the election.
The lawsuit suggests Sen. Cushing, R-Newport, used some of the money to fund his campaign.
The suit, filed Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court by his sister, Laura Cushing McIntyre, accuses Cushing of misappropriating more than $1 million from his family's company.
The corporation exists to support the family's timberlands and make investments.
The suit also states that assets have been "misapplied and wasted" by the defendants. It alleges countless fraudulent transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some of those transactions were described as loans, including $1.37 million transferred to a separate corporation from 2005 to 2011. However, only $150,000 of that was approved by shareholders, according to the lawsuit.
McIntyre only has an 11-percent stake in the Cushing Family Corporation, but her attorney, Walter McKee, said Monday that they hope to make Cushing pay for the alleged misuse of money.
"All the money back that was taken out that never should have been taken out in the first place, and also some component of punitive damages, because it's not enough to say, 'well, I'll give you the money back into the company,' and call it all good," McKee told NEWS CENTER Monday. "There has to be some penalty for that or else people would do this all the time."
When asked why the lawsuit is coming out now, just a few week before the election, McKee said it comes after months of research and was when the suit was ready.
McKee said this lawsuit comes as a result of months of research and years of money simply disappearing from the Cushing Family Corporation.
Sen. Cushing asserts that the accusations are false, releasing this statement:
"It is disappointing when any family disagreement spills over into the public domain. This is a legal matter, a civil case, and It would be inappropriate to comment on the facts of the case before we even have received the court briefing.
"Members of my family, including myself, have been aware for several years that my sister was disgruntled and worked to address her questions. Sadly, she has been unresponsive and has clearly chosen her means to address this issue.
"I also find it disturbing that this lawsuit was filed as recently as last Friday and the plaintiff's attorney has apparently already decided to run to the media with it. This is a tremendous disservice to the public that is only getting one side of the story that is, again, without merit."
Cushing is not the only defendant in the case. It also includes a number of other family members, including his wife, as well as other companies involved.
Cushing is seeking re-election in state Senate District 10.