Nathan Reardon applied 11 times for federal rental assistance funds for apartments he was renting out in Dexter, Howland and Solon. The entire time he was applying for those funds, between November and March, the businessman was barred from doing so as a condition of his bail.
The extent of Reardon’s bids for further COVID-19 assistance was one revelation from court documents that became public Wednesday as the 44-year-old was arrested on a bail violation.
Reardon, the head of a sprawling business empire that includes dozens of entities and an operation through which he rents out apartments without owning them, will now await trial on the federal fraud charges behind those bail conditions in jail. The court documents show that Reardon was persistent in pursuing the funds he was barred from pursuing to the point where he threatened to evict tenants if he didn’t receive them more quickly.
Reardon last year became the first Mainer charged with defrauding the federal Paycheck Protection Program, allegedly obtaining a $60,000 loan on fraudulent premises. In the time he’s been out on bail, his business activities have included an attempt to set up an auto repair and sales business in a portion of the Bangor Mall that city officials have now condemned because of Reardon.
more on nathan reardon
While he continued to seek rental assistance for apartments he oversaw, the Bangor social service agency that disbursed the funds started raising concerns last month that some of the units Reardon was renting out were unfinished and unsafe, according to a court affidavit from probation officer Gian-Luigi Zucchi.
The same month, Reardon repeatedly demanded in emails that Penquis immediately release thousands of dollars to him and threatened to evict tenants if he didn’t receive the money, the affidavit said.
Those emails continued through last Friday, when Reardon wrote: “Lawsuit coming. You will be listed. Thanks for screwing my business. I won’t make this mistake again. All state tenants are being evicted because of this 3rd default.”
Federal prosecutors used the details in the affidavit to build their case that Reardon actively solicited funds he was prohibited from seeking without his probation officer’s approval.
Reardon’s bail conditions set last April prevented him from applying for any pandemic-related financial assistance without the probation officer’s signoff. In the affidavit, his probation officer said Reardon never sought that permission. Reardon’s lawyer argued that his client was unaware he was seeking federal COVID-19 funds.
U.S. Magistrate John Nivison agreed with federal prosecutors. “There’s no ambiguity. There’s no gray area here,” he said.
The pot of money Reardon applied for 11 times came from more than $350 million Maine received through two federal coronavirus relief packages to support low-income tenants. The Maine State Housing Authority disburses the money through local agencies such as Bangor-based Penquis.
Landlords have to apply for the money to receive it directly, as Reardon did, under Maine State Housing Authority rules.
Reardon applied once each in November and December 2021, twice in January 2022, three times in February, and four times in March, according to Zucchi.
The applications Reardon filed were for units in Howland, Dexter and Solon.
In Howland, a basement apartment visited by the Bangor Daily News didn’t have a toilet when the tenants moved in last month, and exposed wires remained even after Reardon said he would fix up the property.
In Dexter, a tenant was taken to the hospital by ambulance in early March for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to court documents. The local code enforcement officer has also found safety violations there and said he may have to condemn the unit.
In Solon, Reardon rented out an apartment above the former Solon Superette store that he briefly reopened before apparently abandoning the enterprise.
Reardon identified himself as an individual landlord on more than half of the applications for emergency rental assistance. Reardon signed the others on behalf of his business Ultimate Property Holdings, which the probation officer noted did not have authority to do business in Maine.
Ultimate Property Holdings is one of more than 60 businesses Reardon lists in his business portfolio on his website. It has an active corporate registration in Florida, but none in Maine.
Reardon’s federal trial is set to begin on June 7. He can appeal the decision to revoke his bail.