The word spread quickly last Friday that the recently opened bar, Sagamore Hill,150 Park Street, had been shut down for a “clerical error” according to an “OOPS” sign in its doorway. Allegedly, the word came from the State of Maine that the license was revoked the previous day, August 30th.
Seemingly, an unusual move to revoke a liquor license so quickly after opening, this blogger wrote a post about it dated herein on August 31, 2018. (Please feel free to review that post).
Shortly thereafter, the Portland Food Plan did a story about it as well – offering no creditable additional details. Over the long Labor Day Holiday Weekend, this blogger sent an email to the city spokeswoman, Jessica Grondin, requesting a comprehensive update on the situation and what had caused the sudden need to change the applications. Ms. Grondin didn’t know much about it at all and referred this blogger to the state’s Division Manager, Laurence Sanborn, Augusta.
When I asked Mr. Sanborn specifically what had “transpired” or “happened” to require this change in the application, he had nothing to offer except to refer me to David Heidrich, Jr., Director of Communications, Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Augusta.
Following several telephone calls and emails to Heidrich, very late in the day, he emailed the following: “The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations (BABLO) recently became aware of inconsistencies between the applications filed by Atlter Holdings LLC for a liquor license with the State of Maine and the City of Portland. Specifically, the ownership interests listed were different on each application. As a result, the Bureau was placed in the regrettable position of having to revoke the originally issued license. We have been in contact with the licensee and advised them that they need to petition the city – again – other a complete application that correctly lists any ownership interests before we will be able to reissue a license. It is our understanding they currently are working through that process and BABLO stands ready to assist them in any way we can,” according to Heidrich, Jr. After jumping through hoops all day, the tedious foregoing statement is what mhn.com received! There was no reference in the statement to any of the questions I asked Mr. Sanborn.
No reference to the underlying difficulties with the application was referred to by either Ms. Grondin or state officials. However, the underlying details were reported by Ms. Grondin to other news media, despite numerous requests for a comprehensive response to the situation including specifically information that necessitated a new application was asked for by this blogger.
Training on how to be good bar tenders who like people and like to be around them, while the Sagamore is on hiatus, would be time well spent for a staff badly in need of that instruction.
Why the withheld details from city and state officials? Is there a bias against bloggers? Nah. That would be too obvious! It must be something else.
Note: The suspended liquor license for Sagamore Hill is expected to be taken up at the Monday, October 1, 2018 city council meeting.