SOURCE: Midcoast Maine Free Press, Feb. 17, 2016, Deborah Attwell letter to the editor
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 5:47 PM
Four years later, Mr. Chaousis joined the Marine Corps. For six years (Oct 1995 to July 2001), James Chaousis II served in Hawaii.
Twelve years later, in 2013, the Maine Municipal Association sent forth 486 election ballots to all their member municipalities. There were four candidates. Each had a bio. On Mr. Chaousis’s bio it was written: “Marine Corps, Gulf War Veteran (six years).”
Two months later, on September 10, 2013, the MMA announced in the Bangor Daily News and The Rocky Coast News that Mr. Chaousis had been elected to their executive board, and they stated that “He is a Persian Gulf War veteran.” The next day, September 11, Eric Conrad, MMA Communications Director and editor of the Maine Townsman magazine, wrote in the Boothbay Register about the election of Boothbay Town Manager James Chaousis. He wrote, “He is a Persian Gulf War veteran.” This misinformation was published again in The Portland Press Herald on September 12 and by another press release from the MMA on September 17th. The next wave of misinformation began with Rick Dacri and Associates LLC. Dacri presented Mr. Chaousis to the city of Rockland as a candidate for City Manager in 2014.
There were lots of exciting newspaper articles to introduce Mr. Chaousis to the city. Mr. Chaousis was described again as a Persian Gulf War veteran. Mr. Chaousis did not correct any of the numerous articles. He did, however, post two “thank-you’s” to the Boothbay Register on January 8th and on January13, 2015. His thank-you comments confirm that he read the articles. Statements that Mr. Chaousis is a Persian Gulf War veteran also appeared in midcoast newspapers: The Bangor Daily News, The Pen Bay Pilot, The Lincoln County News and The Wiscasset Newspaper. Mr. Chaousis was hired by the City Council to be the City Manager of Rockland, Maine.
Mr. Chaousis has never corrected this untrue version of his military service record. The newspapers will probably keep publishing that he is a “Persian Gulf War veteran” because no one has reason to disbelieve. The repetition of an untruth has replaced the real truth.
The Maine Municipal Association was the first reputable organization to create the false impression that Mr. Chaousis is a Persian Gulf War veteran. The newspapers trusted their facts and the rest is history. Now that the MMA knows this, the MMA should take full responsibility for the unintended and irrevocable damage of spawning the false impression that Mr. Chaousis is a Persian Gulf War veteran.
Debby Atwell, Rockland and Waldoboro
Editor’s note: Chaousis told The Free Press that he considers himself a “Persian Gulf War era disabled veteran.” For benefits eligibility purposes, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs defines anyone who served on active duty from August 2, 1990, to the present to be a “Gulf War veteran.” Maine Municipal Association spokesman Eric Conrad told The Free Press that he mistakenly neglected to include the word “era” in Chaousis’ biography on the MMA ballot.