Maine Democrat's Family Business Failed to Pay $57K In Taxes

County issued 77 tax liens against Sara Gideon's family development company

Sara Gideon / YouTube screenshot
August 27, 2020

Maine Senate Democratic candidate Sara Gideon's family business failed to pay more than $57,000 in local property taxes, according to state records.

Ben Gideon, the Maine Democrat's husband, served as one of two co-managers of Concord Brook, a Maine property development firm. The company struggled financially, prompting the town of Freeport, Maine, to issue 77 tax liens against the company between 2008 and 2012. The company did not pay off the last of its lien until 2012, one year after Concord Brook went out of business.

Sara Gideon, who served on the Freeport town council between 2010 and 2012, has attempted to distance herself from the company, telling reporters on Friday that she had nothing to do with her husband's business. The website registration for Concord Brook, however, lists Sara Gideon as a contact for the company, suggesting that she played some role in the firm.

Gideon's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Gideon has attempted to portray herself as an anti-corporate crusader on the campaign trail, pledging to roll back the 2017 Trump tax cuts if she is elected to office. Her family company's failure to pay taxes on time, however, threatens to undermine her image as a tough-on-business legislator. "No corporation should pay nothing in taxes while families are struggling to make ends meet," the candidate wrote on her campaign website.

Established in 2005, Concord Brook purchased several properties in Freeport in pursuit of a redevelopment project to build a condominium in the area. On multiple records from that year—including mortgage agreements and the government documents—Concord Brook listed the Gideon family residence as its company address, indicating that the Gideons were early participants in the business.

The redevelopment scheme, however, started to go downhill in 2008. In March 2008, a Freeport construction company accused Concord Brook of failing to pay for its services, racking up $81,000 in debt. While Concord Brook paid back the debt to the company some time later that year, it failed to stabilize its finances, prompting Freeport to issue 21 liens against the company in October 2008.

The company continued to struggle financially, paying off some overdue property taxes only to incur even more liens. Perennially behind on its taxes, Concord Brook ultimately abandoned the redevelopment plan. The company finally paid back all outstanding taxes in 2012, after it sold its properties in a foreclosure sale in 2011.

The redevelopment project might not have turned a profit, but it did help the Gideon family carve out a special corner in Maine history. Concord Brook intended to build the condominium along a new cul-de-sac called "Gideon's Way." To this day, the street has retained that name.