PORTLAND - Amid continuing confusion surrounding the finances of the group seeking to exclude homosexuals from protection under Maine's civil rights law, a look at the finances of the group's founder, Carolyn Cosby, shows that she owes the city $3,692.68 in unpaid taxes dating back to September 1993.
At the time according to campaign finance reports, she has contributed $100 to the anti-gay political action committee she founded, Concerned Maine Families -- and Cosby and her husband have received at least $6,683 from it.
The Forecaster's efforts to reach Cosby by telephone this week were unsuccessful.
According to the PAC's campaign finance report, the payments were made to cover telephone, printing, office supplies, postage and "software and data listing".
Concerned Maine Families is the group which has gathered signatures to force a referendum vote this November on a question of whether to prevent any new classes of people from being added to the list of those now included under the Maine Human Rights Act. The referendum is mainly aimed at denying civil rights protections to gay men and lesbians, who have tried for many years to get the state legislature to expand the Human Rights Act to specifically include them.
Portland City Treasurer Kevin Markee told The Forecaster that a lien has been placed on the residence Cosby and her husband share at 48 Glen Haven Road West for unpaid 1994 taxes that were due in September 1993 and March 1994. The part that remains due on that fiscal year's taxes is $1076.94. With interest and lien costs added to that bill, the amount outstanding from 1993-94 is $1,272.48.
Also overdue, according to city tax records, is the entire amount of taxes for fiscal 1995, which should have been paid by March of this year. That amount is $2,232.50. The interest charged on that bill brings the total due as of Monday to $2,420.20.
According to Markee, in June the city filed a lien on the house for the unpaid 1994 taxes. After 18 months, Markee said, the city can begin foreclosure proceedings, a step that could trigger foreclosure proceedings by the bank holding the Cosbys' mortgage.
City records show that a payment was made on that account of $50 on July 20. No payment had been made prior to that since October of 1993.
Campaign finance reports and related papers filed this year by Concerned Maine Families list several payments to Cosby and her husband, J. David Cosby. Payments to Carolyn Cosby include:
n addition, the PAC paid J. David Cosby $1,168.28 for "software and data listing" and $631.88 for "utilities."
Concerned Maine Families referendum would nullify civil rights protection for homosexuals in the city of Portland, the only community in the state which now has such an ordinance, and bar other municipalities from enacting similar protections. Cosby has frequently criticized what she calls the "special rights" that she feels would be conferred on homosexuals as a result of local or state civil rights legislation. She also has indicated resentment that gays and lesbians are somehow economically privileged.