By: Ronda Snyder – April 7, 2021
This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinions
In February 2021, Donald and Melissa Levesque came to my attention through various posts on a local Maine Swap and Sell site. I reached out to several customers who allege that they paid money to the Levesques (or one of their aliases) and no work was done or the workmanship was shoddy, at best. Then the floodgates of disgruntled former customers started pouring in. You can read the first installment HERE. This article is a bit longer than usual but buckle up, it’s a good one.
Since publishing that first article on February 23, 2021, even more customers along with previous landlords reached out to me describing their experiences and dealings with Melissa and Donald Levesque. Quite interestingly, a person identifying herself as “Christina Mathew” reached out to Maine Journal News by email purporting to be a “friend” of Don and Melissa who is trying to help the Levesques tell “their side of the story.” Our research of multiple databases indicates there is nobody in the state of Maine named Christina Mathew. A comparison of messages Melissa sent to customers and the email we received from “Christina Mathew” reveal multiple similarities in the writing style, poor spelling, poor grammar, lack of proper punctuation and over use of improper ellipses. You can read the emails together with our response below – warning you may lose brain cells reading “Christina’s” defense of the Levesques.
“Christina” threatens legal action in the last paragraph for which she has no legal standing to do so.
We promptly replied to “Christina” asking her about her relationship to Don and Melissa. You’ll see in “Christina’s” original email she refers to Don losing his job as though it’s Maine Journal News’ fault. We correctly point out to “Christina” that Don losing his job happened long before we’d ever heard of the Levesques. In fact, we wrote about the job loss in our February 23, 2021 article. As such, our article could not have been the impetus for Don losing his job. We also point out that the Terry to which “Christina” refers has a judgment of nearly $6,000 against Don and Melissa which, according to Terry, is in default. We also let “Christina” know that we are not fooled as to the identity of this email sender.
“Christina” alleges she is a very good friend of both Don and Melissa. Again, our search of people living in Maine reveals no such person as Christina Mathew.
“Christina” tells us we should ask the previous landlord about the house she rented to the Levesques. We did and you can read about it and see photos sent to us later in this article. “Christina” offers to send Maine Journal News photos and threatens to get our first article removed.
Maine Journal News responds accordingly to “Christina.” We won’t be bullied into silence because we have this pesky thing on our side called the First Amendment. “Christina” or Don or Melissa will never take this to court because they can’t prove anything we’ve written is untrue. Moreover, multiple victims have indicated that they would be more than willing to testify for Maine Journal News corroborating what we’ve written and testify against Don and Melissa Levesque for unfair and deceptive business practices.
Maine Journal News further responds to “Christina” indicating we are more than willing to see pictures and messages from people happy with their work.
We sent a final email to “Christina” indicating we have not received the messages or photos from happy customers and that we would be stopping by to get a comment from Melissa. We never heard back from “Christina.” We did not receive the photos or copies of messages. We were not told that Melissa or Don didn’t want to speak with us despite the indication in “Christina’s” previous emails that they wanted their side of the story told. We were never told not to contact either Don or Melissa. This last part is especially important for later in the article. Keep this information tucked away in your memory.
If you think I may be harsh for not believing these emails came from “Christina Mathew” and thinking they instead came from Melissa herself, here are some examples of messages Melissa sent to customers and posted online (For the Love of Wood is one of the many names under which Melissa did business). Notice the “..” as a sentence or word separator in both the messages and the email? Notice the exact same spelling mistakes? Notice there are no other punctuation in the email or messages or posts? Yeah me too. My Papa didn’t raise no dummy. As my good friend, Naran says “writing style is similar to a fingerprint.” Yes it is.
Now you are caught up on what happened shortly after our first article appeared except for the additional complaints and allegations by even more customers AND a previous landlord to which “Christina” makes mention of in her email.
A comment from Brian Shaboski on March 30, 2021 in response to our February 23, 2021 article is set forth below. I’m sorry Brian but you likely have a better chance of seeing Elvis than getting a refund but let us know if you ever receive that money order. I hear miracles can happen.
Jea Coulombe’s son saved his own money for a custom desk. After waiting 7 months with excuse upon excuse and no shows by Melissa Levesque, the desk was finally delivered. It was carried about 5 feet before it completely fell apart.
Many people had similar experiences with Melissa Levesque but according to the Levesques all of those strangers who don’t know each other got together to tell the same lies. Occam’s Razor is a principle of philosophy wherein there are multiple explanations for an occurrence but the correct solution is the one that requires the smallest number of assumptions. Let’s use Occam’s Razor here. 1. Don and Melissa Levesque are telling the truth and all of these strangers from throughout Maine somehow got together to expose their dealings with the Levesques and are somehow in cahoots and lying for some unknown purpose; or 2. Multiple people, who don’t know each other, have had nearly similar experiences with the Levesques are telling the truth. Given the mini lesson on Occam’s Razor, of the two explanations that account for the facts, which one is more likely to be correct?
Next up are statements and allegations from the Levesques’ previous landlord that “Christina” suggested we speak with in her emails to Maine Journal News. We asked the previous landlord about this situation. Vicki writes:
“It was a lovely old farmhouse that we totally renovated. Every time I got after them for non-payment [of rent], they would start screaming about something that was wrong with the house. I would hire someone to go look at the “issue” and every time there was NOTHING wrong. One time they said the dishwasher wasn’t working…repairman walks in and pushed the button. It worked perfectly. Another time they said the floor was “caving in.” We hired a contractor to take a look – he couldn’t find anything wrong. Another time they said the furnace wasn’t working and kept turning on and off. We hired a repairman who said it is an oil furnace and that’s what oil furnaces do. There was nothing wrong with it. When they left, they took drapes, rugs, light fixtures, and smoke alarms. We own a hay farm and they dumped a whole bunch of screws in our hay field. If that gets into the hay, it can kill the horse or cow that eats it.” Maine Journal News asked, “Did they get evicted owing you money? Do they still owe you money?’ Vicki: “Yes. They stopped paying in September. I tried to get them out for months for chronic late payment but they just wouldn’t go. I finally hired a lawyer (but by then COVID restrictions wouldn’t let me evict for non-payment). Our lawyer got them out for violating the contract on many, many counts. A month and half before they left they called CMP and had the electricity put in MY name. The chicken run they put in without permission and the dog run for 7 dogs, again without permission, destroyed the back yard of my property. They left the house filthy and damaged.”
Once I received Don and Melissa’s address from several people, I decided to take “Christina” up on her offer to get the Levesques’ side of the story. As you can see from the emails above, I let “Christina” know that I would be happy to take a drive to get comments from the Levesques. I was never told not to do so. As any reporter who is following a story would do, I took a drive to get a comment because I had to be in that area on other business. On March 30, 2021, I drove down the street and nobody was home at the Levesques. However, a neighbor in the neighborhood let me know they weren’t happy with the lack of respect shown to the neighbors. Lawns were driven on without care (though not much damage was sustained). One neighbor was nice enough to let the Levesques park trailers and vehicles in his yard. The neighbor’s yard looks like this (and while the Levesques may eventually fix the damage to the neighbor’s yard, they haven’t done so yet).
On Sunday, April 4, 2021, I had an interview scheduled with the parent of two children who were attacked and injured in Lewiston at the FunZ Trampoline Park. Since the interview location was a short distance from the home the Levesques are renting, I gave it one last try to get a comment from Melissa Levesque to tell her side of the story as suggested by “Christina.” I arrived at approximately 11:13 am and parked across the street. I was also invited to be there by a neighbor. The interaction went as follows:
- MJN: Hey Melissa!
- Melissa: Who are you?
- MJN: I’m Ronda with Maine Journal News.
- Melissa: (inaudible)
- MJN: I’m sorry?
- Melissa: Leave.
- MJN: I thought you wanted to tell your side of the story (author’s note: Let’s face it – anyone with two brain cells rubbing together know that the “Christina Mathew” sending us emails was actually Melissa Levesque).
- Melissa: I didn’t ask you to come this is my side of the street so you can leave (author’s note: “Christina” did ask us to get the other side of the story)
- MJN: I have people who want to know when they are going to get their money back from you.
- Don: (inaudible)
- Melissa: We are going to call the cops
- MJN: Okay. Call them. I’ll wait over at the neighbors.
Because I am a law abiding citizen and have never even received a speeding ticket, I waited for the police to show up. While I was waiting, the next door neighbor came over to me and showed me where they left tire marks on her yard. She is an elderly woman and upset that Melissa barely apologized and told her that she’d just rake it up. Another neighbor told me the Levesques’ presence was upsetting their formerly quiet suburban neighborhood. Eventually, 3 police cars showed up. The officer I spoke with initially is named Officer Joseph Miville.
Again, because I am a law abiding citizen and courteous to police officers, upon the commencement of the interaction with Officer Miville, I let him know, for his safety and mine, that I was carrying (because I carry every day and everywhere I go for my own safety). Let me preface this by saying, I have never had a negative interaction with a police officer until I met Officer Miville. I have a fantastic relationship with the police force in Augusta and they are an excellent group of cops. Instead of thanking me as every other police officer I have spoken with has done, Officer Miville went on the offensive and immediately started what I can only describe as offensive bullying tactics. His first question was along the lines of “So you came here armed to confront these people?” It was really hard not to call him a douche right out of the gate but I responded slowly, so he could understand, that I simply came there to get a comment on a follow up story and that the only reason I mentioned that I was carrying was as a courtesy to him. His tone and manner continued to be aggressive and off putting and said “They told you they don’t want to speak with you.” I replied “Yes and that’s why I stopped asking them questions.” There was more in between and I didn’t record that interaction so I don’t want to incorrectly portray what was said. I do recall saying something along the lines that I found it ironic that I wasn’t doing anything wrong by attempting to get a comment and the police were protecting scumbags who have ripped off a lot of people based on the information and evidence sent to me. He told me it was my “opinion.” It was pretty simple but Officer Miville, all geared up with his service weapon located on the front of his tactical style vest (rather than on his hip) was looking for a fight. I wasn’t giving him one and I wasn’t playing his games. A reasonable sergeant spoke with me and I explained what was going on. I explained that I was invited by a neighbor and I was simply trying to get a comment from Melissa because she (under the guise of Christina Mathew) indicated I needed to tell her side of the story and that I had multiple complaints and evidence of them engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices. The police left and some neighbors asked me for my card which I provided.
On Monday night while I was out at a town meeting, my husband let me know that a Deputy Sheriff came by to serve me something. Since I don’t break the law, I could only surmise that Melissa and/or Don filed some sort of fantastical complaint against me. I’ve been waiting, excitedly, for two days for the Deputy Sheriff to come back and nothing yet. Given Melissa’s propensity for stretching the truth, I truly hope she (or they) made false statements under oath on the alleged complaint. I look forward to vigorously defending whatever these two cooked up because I have the truth and mountains of evidence on my side. If and when I get served, I will update this article to include a copy of the Summons.
As always, thank you for reading Maine Journal News. You can like us (if Facebook feels like displaying the like button which only appears about 50% of the time) or followed at www.facebook.com/mainejournalnews. If you have tips, story ideas or would like to join the MJN team as a writer or researcher, please send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, this goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway. Unless you have a personal or business relationship with Don or Melissa Levesque, do not reach out and contact them. We do not condone that behavior.
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