“It’s crazy,” commented Adam Goode, House chairman of the Legislature’s Taxation Committee, on the fact that no public officials monitor how the New Markets money is spent.

Yet Goode, a Democrat who represents Bangor, co-sponsored the 2013 New Markets bill that specifically loosened the rules to help Cate Street. And in an interview he admitted he hadn’t known the tax credits were “refundable,” the code word meaning they essentially aren’t tax credits, but instead are payments.

The New Markets credits have been so under the radar that the legislative task force last year that examined the state’s tax breaks didn’t even mention them in its report.

But others were paying attention. Among those pushing New Markets legislation were the parties that hoped to profit from it: several of the national CDE middlemen agencies, including CEI Capital Management, of Portland, and two Louisiana CDEs that eventually got involved in brokering the East Millinocket deal; the Maine Bankers Association; and Cate Street Capital itself. 

Lance Tapley can be reached atlance.tapley@gmail.com.

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