Maine labor mural flap caused $6K in spending
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The state paid more than $6,000 to remove, store and ultimately relocate a labor mural that Gov. Paul LePage removed from the Maine Department of Labor building lobby, officials said. Part of the cost ended up being paid by a Republican group that tried to raise money to purchase the mural.
The governor created an uproar nearly two years ago when he ordered the mural's removal because he believed it presented a one-sided view of history that overlooked the contributions of entrepreneurs.
Hidden for nearly 22 months, the mural came out of storage last weekend and is now displayed in an atrium that serves as the entryway to the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library and Maine State Archives.
The cost of crating and storing the labor mural was $530 and transportation costs were $690, the Department of Labor told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Access request. Framing and installation at the new venue added up to another $4,850, the LePage administration said. The Maine State Museum also purchase of a security camera, estimated to cost about $150, to protect the mural.
A silver lining was that framing and installation costs were defrayed by a GOP group, Aroostook Republicans, which made a donation to the Maine State Museum after unsuccessfully trying to raise enough money to pay back a federal grant so the state could take ownership of the mural.
"The money that was going to be used to buy the mural was used to put it back on display," said Julie Rabinowitz, spokeswoman for the Department of Labor.
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