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Developer who planned island project denies embezzlement

John Veneziano filed a lawsuit in June against Bernie Saulnier.
Credit: Portland Press Herald
Saco Island, which lies between the downtowns of Biddeford and Saco, was the site of a proposed $40 million development that would have included a mix of apartments, a boutique hotel and a marina.

SACO, Maine — A developer in coastal Maine is denying a claim by a former business partner that he embezzled from the company they founded.

John Veneziano filed a lawsuit in June against Bernie Saulnier. He accused Saulnier of taking money from their business, J&B Partners, to pay for other business projects and his own personal debt. The company was founded for development projects in Saco and Portland.

RELATED: Auction sale of 6-acres puts $40M development plan at risk

The Portland Press Herald reports Saulnier has filed a response saying Veneziano is responsible for the company's money trouble. He says Veneziano's inability to secure $32 million in loans led to foreclosure auctions on Saco and Portland properties. The Saco property was on Saco Island and had been slated for a $40 million project.

An attorney for Veneziano says his client will respond via court filings.