Lincoln County Courts

Newcastle man arrested for theft from nonprofit

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 7:15pm

A Newcastle man who practices law in Damariscotta is out on bail and facing several charges connected with his alleged mishandling of funds from a Bath nonprofit. On Aug. 8, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Jonathan C. Hull, 72. He was charged with Forgery, Theft by Unauthorized Taking or Transfer, Falsifying Private Records, and Misuse of Entrusted Property.

According to probable cause court records, Hull was the fiduciary agent for the Cheseborough Program, a nonprofit for the Bath/Tsugaru sister-city and student exchange named for the ship Cheseborough from Bath that was wrecked near Tsugaru, Japan.  The locals worked to save many lives.

According to court documents, Hull served as treasurer of the nonprofit for two years, and on the board for longer. He resigned from both in May.

In late 2017, the organization’s president, Bernie Wyman, stepped down, and Elizabeth Hartung became acting president. Hull missed several board meetings after that, so Hartung had been in touch to request routine financial documents from Hull.

According to court documents, Hull called this May, apologized to Hartung for taking money out of Cheseborough’s account, and  said he would return the funds the following week. Hartung said he did not, and did not do it by a May 30 deadline she gave him. Then she called for an emergency meeting of the board, which voted to contact the police.

Since January, Hartung found Hull had written checks totaling $6,000 from the account. As the investigation continued, police and Cheseborough discovered that over the two years he had access to the accounts, Hull allegedly wrote $24,250 in checks to himself or to cash. He has since deposited $25,250 into the account. According to court records, funds were restored by July 14.

Hull was one of two signatories to the checking account, according to court records. They state the other signatory, Anita Mantais-Lyons, was unaware of the missing funds until Hull contacted her.

Damariscotta Police Sgt. Erick Halpin requested the arrest warrant be issued. Wiscasset Police Sgt. Craig Worster took Hull into custody at the courthouse Aug. 8. Hill was booked and released the next morning from Two Bridges Regional Jail on $5,000 bail.

Cheseborough referred all questions to the authorities. A call to Hull’s office was not immediately returned.