Robert Lenna, executive director of the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, demonstrated a poor sense of public relations to say the least when he told State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin that "I don't eat at Wendy's."
Wow, talk about executive hubris. Lots of real folks eat at Wendy's, or at Mickey D's, or at many other places that are apparently too ordinary for the haughty Robert Lennas of the world.
The Bond Bank boss's disdainful Wendy's comment if uttered by a Republican would give progressivists like, say, columnist Bill Nemitz something more than murals to froth over. Alas, judging from his hefty liberal political donations, the fellow with the bad case of Wendy-phobia is one of Nemitz's own people and therefore immune to criticism.
Lenna stumbled into his embarrassing situation when, according to a news story, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin asked why, during a business junket to New York, Lenna found it necessary to treat himself and three colleagues to a $4,000 in dinners at two fancy restaurants. (The foursome also spent $4,000 for posh hotel accommodations.)
Poliquin wondered why Lenna could not conduct his business -- closing on $80 million the state was borrowing on behalf of 29 communities -- in a teleconference from the bond bank's office in Augusta. Lunch could have been takeout from the Wendy's located just down the street.
Lenna's retort was classic elitist: "I don't eat at Wendy's…I resent the implication that I am somehow wasting money."
So who is this guy?
Susan Cover, the MaineToday Media reporter who wrote the story, did a pretty good job of explaining Lenna's role in the complicated business of municipal bond dealing: He is, by all indications, very good at what he does. But Cover didn't delve deeply into his background, in which lies a political operative bound to stir concern among Maine conservatives.
One contributor who posts on AsMaineGoes did do some digging. The poster, who uses the name "Small Town Manager," logged on to the internet and found that Lenna has contributed more than $10,000 to prominent Democratic candidates in recent years.
That may be chicken feed in Las Vegas or Chicago, but in Maine it's big bucks. Other AMGers have since uncovered additional contributions that bring the total to nearer $15,000.
Obviously Robert Lenna is used to dealing in big money in both his business and political lives. No wonder he can afford to turn up his nose at Wendy's Deluxe Value Meals.