In this 2014 file photo, Eliot Cutler speaks with supporters at Ocean Gateway in Portland during election night. Credit: Denise Farwell / BDN

Former two-time gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler resigned from his role at the Lerner Foundation, a nonprofit aiming to help students from rural Maine attend college, on the same day that police searched two of his homes.

Cutler, 75, resigned from his position as president of the board of directors of the nonprofit on Wednesday, citing personal reasons, Lerner Foundation Executive Director Don Carpenter said in an email.

The nonprofit was founded in 2007 in memory of Emanuel and Pauline Lerner, who were close friends of Cutler’s family, according to a 2021 Portland Press Herald article. In 2017, it launched a pilot program aiming to provide long-term mentoring to kids in rural communities. Cutler was paid $50,000 by the foundation in 2019 for his work as its president, according to tax documents. More recent years are not available.

Cutler, a wealthy environmental lawyer who served as an aide to the late Sen. Edmund Muskie and former President Jimmy Carter, came within roughly 10,000 votes of being elected governor of Maine as an independent in 2010. He ran again in 2014 but won just 8 percent of the vote.

Maine State Police have not said why they searched properties owned by Cutler in Portland and Brooklin. He declined to comment earlier this week, but has hired defense lawyer Walt McKee, who also declined to answer questions. No other properties were searched in relation to the investigation, according to a Maine State Police spokesperson, and neither Cutler nor anyone else related to him has been charged with a crime.

BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.