The City Council voted unanimously this evening to approve the written decision prepared by Portland’s Corporation Counsel that allegedly states the reasons for the denial of Sangillo’s Tavern application for a liquor license renewal. The denial issued last month by the City was based on testimony from Portland’s Police Department. Tonight’s vote ends the City’s involvement in the process which began last month when the City Council narrowly voted (5 to 4) to deny renewal of Sangillos liquor license. Now the matter will be appealed to the State’s Liquor License Board in Augusta.
Arguing on behalf of Sangillo’s before the city council was attorney Timothy J. Bryant, of Preti, Flaherty, Belliveau & Pachios. Attorney Bryant found inaccuracies in the proposed decision as written by Danielle West-Chuta, Corporation Counsel for which the Council could have turned it down. They included questions about the police department’s own testimony, the misrepresentation of Sangillo’s manager’s testimony before the Council and procedural errors in the process. Councilor Cheryl Leeman expressed concern about having someone other than a councilor interpret in writing what occurred at city council meetings. However, attorney West-Chuta said a written document was necessary because it indicates when the appeal process begins and ends. Councilor Leeman moved that the written objections prepared by attorney Bryan in a letter to the councilor be part of the package of material sent to the Liquor Board in the matter of the appeal. Councilor Suslovic said he would not support that -saying: “We aren’t making their case for them.” However, the motion failed by a 6 – 3 vote. Those supporting the motion were councilors Leeman, Coyne and Mavadones.
Sangillo’s, on Hampshire Street on the East End of Portland, remains open and will continue to be open during the appeal process.
Following the meeting, attorney Severin M. Beliveau, said the written decision was “factually inaccurate and their were errors in their findings. This definitely strengthens our appeal,” he said emphatically.