Attorney General files Deceptive Trade Practice action against Barry Somes and associated businesses

03/03/2016 02:56 PM EST


AUGUSTA – Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced today that she has filed an Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act complaint against Barry Somes of Cumberland Center. The complaint alleges that Somes operated under numerous business names and failed to deliver on promised vacation tours after taking advanced payments and failing to provide refunds to affected consumers.

Somes operated businesses including TourBUSters, Club Impac, and Lids For Kids, among others. These businesses purported to offer motor coach tours to destinations around the Northeast United States and Canada. Somes also advertised that net profits from the tours would be donated to benefit children; the complaint alleges that that did not happen. Numerous consumers complained that after they made deposits, Somes would contact them saying that the tour had been cancelled. When the consumer requested a refund on their deposit, Somes would attempt to convince the consumer that for various reasons he could not give the refund or charge them a cancellation fee. Somes has exhibited this pattern over numerous years, prompting this action from the Attorney General to enjoin him from future similar business ventures. In the last several years the Attorney General’s Office has received 54 complaints from consumers seeking refunds of deposits paid to Somes. Of these 54, Somes has paid refunds to only 17 consumers.

“Mr. Somes took money from many elderly people who were looking forward to what might be their only vacation of the year,” said Attorney General Mills. “He pulled the rug out from under them by not only cancelling their plans, but also failing to provide timely refunds so they could make alternate arrangements. This is not how a reputable business operates. By bringing this action, we hope to discourage others from trying to do the same.”

The Attorney General is also seeking an accounting of how the consumers’ deposits were used and a disgorgement of any ill-gotten gains by Mr. Somes. Should the court find that his actions were intentional, the court could impose a $10,000 civil penalty for each violation. The civil complaint brought under Maine’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act was filed in Kennebec County Superior Court on February 29, 2016.

The Maine Office of the Attorney General is interested in hearing from any other consumers who may have had similar dealings with Mr. Somes. They are encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division State House Station 6 Augusta, ME Tel: 1-800-436-2131

New accessible voting devices to debut at June primary

02/17/2016 02:07 PM EST


AUGUSTA – The State of Maine will be implementing the use of new ballot-marking devices in the upcoming elections that will improve the experience for voters with disabilities.

Following an in-depth bidding and review process, the Department of the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions has chosen the ExpressVote system , a product of Election Systems and Software, LLC, as its accessible voting platform.

The ExpressVote consists of a single unit with a video display screen and built-in ballot printer, with a controller attached. It is designed to accommodate any voter by offering both an audio and visual ballot, allowing a voter to make ballot selections by touching the screen or by using a controller that has uniquely shaped and colored buttons, with Braille labels. It also has the capability to accommodate various other assistive devices. When the voter is finished making the selections, the system prints a ballot marked with the voter’s choices.

“There are few things more sacred in a democracy than the right to vote,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. “This system, under the intent of the law, allows people with physical challenges, as much as possible, to vote without assistance – ensuring not only their right to vote, but also their right to a secret ballot.

“This is an aspect of the Help America Vote Act that we feel very strongly about, and we are excited by the new developments in technology,” said Dunlap.

The state’s current method of compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 consists of a phone line that allows voters with disabilities to listen to an audio ballot and select the choices by pressing a button. The ExpressVote units will represent a significant upgrade in the user experience, providing both an audio and a visual ballot, and allowing voters to “move around” on the ballot just as they would with a traditional, printed ballot.

The decision to choose the ExpressVote was made by an evaluation team that included several Elections Division staff members, municipal clerks and advocates for people with disabilities. Integral to the team’s decision was the feedback from voters with disabilities who volunteered their time to test the technology.

The ExpressVote is expected to be debuted at the June primaries. The accessible voting system can be used by any voter and will be available at all voting places.

Saturday’s Synopsis

House Votes to Repeal Death Tax 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the “death tax” and now it is on to the U.S. Senate.

Maine State Senator Amy Volk  Proposes Bill to Lengthen Senate Term

Senator Amy Volk has introduced a bill that would lengthen the Senate term to four years.  TMCV in the past has proposed lengthening the Senate term to six years, in keeping with the Federal term. At the State level all legislative offices are open at the same time and can be overwhelming for voters and political operatives come campaign season. TMCV, at this point, supports this bill.

IRS Goes Before Congress Hand Out Begging For More Money

Yes, you read right.   After completely misappropriating the exorbitant amount of money they confiscate from taxpayers every year, the IRS wants more because it doesn’t have enough to operate…maybe….it shouldn’t….operate….ever thought of that….

Maine State Senator David Burns Withdraws Religious Freedom Bill

After increasing pressure from LGBT groups and lack of support within his own Party, although legislative leaders voiced their support, Senator Burns has withdrawn his Religious Freedom Bill.  Republican Party officials tell TMCV that the timing was not right.  Is the timing ever right for courage and conviction?

Governor LePage Calls For Elimination of State Income Tax

Facing strong opposition from both Parties on portions of his budget, Governor LePage remains resolute in his belief that the State Income Tax should be eliminated.  LePage believes that if the legislature will not vote to repeal income tax the people will.

Hillary Announces Candidacy, Visits “Ordinary Iowans”, Uses Staged Iowans

Hillary Clinton announced her bid to be President of the United States this week then promptly traveled to Iowa to see “everyday Iowans”, locked everyday college students in their classrooms so they wouldn’t bother her, parked her campaign van in an everyday handicap spot, and staged her very own”everyday Iowans” meeting with some “everyday Iowan actors”-a whole three of them.

Veterans Administration is Scorched By Latest Report

A scathing report just released by the Inspector General in its latest investigation calls in to question whether the VA has any interest at all in reforming its battered image.  The latest findings of the IG detail a litany of abuse, misuse, and corruption including workers being forced to work in a rat infested building.

The “Fix” is In

The so-called “Doc Fix” has been sent to the Presidents desk for his signature.  This bill is an attempt to protect Medicare patients who would have had to absorb a 21% cut in services.

“Doc Fix” Heading to the President



Last night, the United States Senate passed the legislation to amend the “doc fix.”

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is now heading to the White House and is expected to be signed by the President.


From: Poliquin, Press

Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 12:43 PM
To: Poliquin, Press
Subject: Preserving and Protecting Medicare



Preserving and Protecting Medicare


WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation, with strong bipartisan support, to help strengthen Medicare. This legislation will stop a 21% cut to reimbursement rates for doctors who see Medicare patients that would have occurred on March 31. These cuts would have negatively impacted Mainers who rely on these Medicare services. Congressman Bruce Poliquin released the following statement:


“For the last decade, Washington has kicked this can down the road and left Maine seniors who rely on Medicare services uncertain of whether or not they will receive care each year. That’s an irresponsible way to govern and it’s unfairly burdening our Second District seniors and medical practitioners.


“It’s imperative for Congress to protect and preserve Medicare and make it more accessible for our seniors. The Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act provides the first-step in preserving and protecting Medicare for our seniors. This bill will repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and provide better access to health care for our seniors while helping our taxpayers save money.


“While this bill is not perfect, it’s an important pathway to allow seniors to continue to see their trusted doctors by making Medicare more accessible and strengthen Medicare for future generations.”