I-Team: Former Cumberland tour bus operator owes more money to more customers
(AUGUSTA) — The former owner a southern Maine bus tour business is again in trouble with the state.
The Office of the Maine Attorney General brought Barry Somes back to court Thursday claiming he's not holding up his agreement to pay back his customers.
"It got postponed and then it got canceled," said Martha Emmons about her trip with Somes.
Records show Somes owes her a $200 refund for a bus tour with her daughter that never happened.
After several I-Team investigations and a lawsuit by Attorney General Janet Mills, last spring Somes paid restitution of more than $30,000 to 38 former customers, according to Mills.
She says Somes took customer deposits, canceled bus trips, and failed to provide refunds.
"Many of whom had limited resources and all they wanted was a nice trip," Mills said in June 2016.
As part of a May 2016 consent agreement, Somes also agreed to pay restitution for any future claims that weren't part of the initial settlement.
According to a new complaint against Somes, Mills alleges, "Somes has failed to respond to the Attorney General's demand for payment for additional restitution."
The filing also claims Somes violated the agreement by contacting former customers pitching things like his new "collection of short stories" which he calls "If You Don't Know Where You're Going, Then You're On the Right Bus," and a $25 lifetime membership in his new club promising a "world of privilege shared by only a certain few, imitated by no one."
A court exhibit shows one mailing was sent August 2016 — months after he was prohibited from contacting anyone on his customer list.
According to an agreement reached Thursday, Somes will pay up to $26,381 to resolve 50 additional consumer complaints.
In exchange, the state will drop its allegations of violations.
Somes handed over a check for $7,000 on Thursday, according to Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Silsby.
"No real comment, but we've reached an agreement. It will be a happy ending for everybody — win, win for everybody," Somes told CBS 13 outside the courtroom.
Somes told the state he's now working as bus driver for another company, but he said he has no interest in running his own business ever again.