BUCKSPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Every year landowners in Maine sell timber on their property to make ends meet. Yet recently one in Bucksport says she was shorted thousands of dollars by workers hired to cut down her trees.
Kelley Hannaford owns 98 acres of land in Bucksport. Last January she hired two men from Prospect to cut down her trees in order to sell them at area mills. She says the only problem is wood started disappearing from her lot without payment.
Hannaford contacted the Maine Forest Service. Rangers then launched an investigation against Paul Maguire and his son David Maguire. Under state law, wood harvesters are required to pay landowners no more than 45 days after their trees make it to a mill.
Rangers found the Maguires owed Hannaford about $5,000 dollars, which they have agreed to pay, but authorities say they can't proof if the Maguires meant to steal any wood.
Hannaford feels otherwise.
"This boils down to the harvesters knowing right from wrong," she said, "and the harvesters doing right from wrong." 12:42:52
"The Maguires have been very cooperative through this whole thing," said Maine Forest Ranger John Cousins, who has been investigating the case, "they told me to come up with a figure which I did and they made a 1,000 payment toward the 5,000 dollars."
Paul Maguire also offered comment on the matter saying he paid Hannaford in cash several times for her wood but never kept record of the transactions.
In an interview with NEWS CENTER by phone Friday afternoon, Paul Maguire lashed out at Hannaford for going to the media after he says a settlement was reached.
"We've been nothing but cooperative since day one," he said, "and as far I knew we came to an agreement two days ago on what was going to happen. I don't know why she choose to drag us through the mud...We made a settlement and I thought that would be the end of it."
Both Paul Maguire and his son have been summoned to court on the matter. A wood harvester's 'failure to pay' is considered a civil violation in Maine. State officials say nothing else will come in the way of court action as long as the Maguires pay off the money they have agreed to pay Hannaford.