Portlander turned Florida man guilty of illegal campaign donations

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the newsletter is going lean because we gorged over the weekend. How was your Thanksgiving?

What we’re talking about

A former Portland real estate developer, who now lives outside Orlando, Florida, pleaded guilty to making $22,500 in illegal campaign contributions to presidential candidates during the 2011 primaries, BDN’s Judy Harrison reports. Here’s what happened:

“Michael A. Liberty, 56, now of Windermere, Florida, admitted that between May and June 2011, he made campaign contributions through nine employees, associates and family members to the principal campaign committee of a candidate for president, a press release issued Monday said.

Court documents do not name the candidate, but in May 2011, Liberty contributed $2,500 to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the GOP nomination for president, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Campaign finance laws limit individual contributions to a candidate to $2,500 during the primary election cycle…

In addition to his activity in presidential races, Liberty has focused on elections in Maine, often in support of conservative candidates. In 2014, he was the primary supporter of the Citizens for a Safe Cumberland County Political Action Committee, which spent $100,000 on behalf of Michael Edes, who was a candidate for Cumberland County sheriff.”

Read the full story here.

In other news

Portland’s OG craft brewer starts to slip — Portland’s D.L. Geary Brewing Company, incorporated in 1983, is getting pushed out of the craft beer market in its hometown. The Press Herald’s James Patrick reports that newcomers like Bissell Brothers, with hipster cred and a higher price tag, are leading the charge.

We saw this coming in August, when BDN’s Abigail Curtis raised the question: Is there an end to the number of craft breweries Maine can support? It appears the answer is … maybe. Meanwhile, newcomer Battery Steele Brewing is set to open in Portland on Industrial Way (deets coming later this week), so the concept is not dead yet. — Kathleen Pierce  

Portland pigeons against racism — The latest installment on Portland’s pigeon whisperer is in. This week the Congress Square poet gives flight to racism in this punchy civics lesson shot by BDN Portland’s own Troy R. Bennett. Caution: There is some strong language.  

Not so suspicious after all — This morning the Westbrook police asked for assistance from state authorities after “some facts and circumstances” in the death of 42-year-old local Michelle Minor struck them as “suspicious.”  But by late afternoon the Maine State Police were saying they didn’t suspect any foul play.

The Big Idea

The definitive, American Castro obituary — Castro “changed the face of Cuba, he remapped South Florida as well, transforming it from the southernmost tip of the United States to the northernmost point of Latin America. The suffering of the refugees he sent pouring into Miami eventually turned to triumph as they forged economic and political success,” writes the Miami Herlad’s Glenn Garvin.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at jbleiberg@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.