PORTLAND — A city decision to manage Bogey’s, the restaurant at Riverside Municipal Golf Course, is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of at least one applicant who hoped to run the establishment.
The city issued a request for proposals to run Bogey’s in February, and received two proposals, according to City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.
But the proposals failed to meet the city’s requirements, Clegg said, and the decision was made to operate the restaurant instead of hiring a restaurant manager.
“Because after the RFP went out there was a discussion about contracting out our golf course management, we decided to manage (the restaurant),” Clegg said. The City Council is expected this summer to discuss whether the city-owned and -managed course would be better run by outside management.
Gary Garrison and his business partner, Ned Brooks, applied to run the restaurant. Garrison, who also has an import business called Maine Street Living, based in Scarborough and New York, said he had extensive discussions with city staff beginning last summer about taking over for the current operator, whose lease was not renewed.
Garrison said that at the city’s request he put together a business and marketing plan for Bogey’s in September. He said he was told to resubmit it for the RFP.
The RFP was issued Feb. 10 and proposals were opened Feb. 24.
Garrison said that while he was traveling, the city requested additional credit information from him. But he said he never heard back after he asked for clarification about what was being sought. The city wanted a list of Garrison’s personal assets, in addition to a $10,000 note of credit it had previously requested.
Garrison said he offered to fill out a credit application and provide a credit score, but said he thought it was invasive for the city to request his personal assets.
“I emailed, I called (and) they haven’t replied to any of our requests,” he said.
Garrison said he also sent emails to all of the city councilors, and included copies of his unanswered emails to city staff.
“Not one councilor emailed me back,” he said. Brooks, his business partner, went to the city Purchasing Department looking for answers, Garrison said, and was simply told that he would receive a certified letter concerning the RFP.
“Personally I have never been involved with a group of professionals who do not have the basic abilities to communicate in a business-like atmosphere and with any consideration for the effort that was taken in our bid process,” Garrison said in his March 29 email to councilors.
Clegg said the city would not engage in a “he said-she said” with Garrison. She said the city’s decision was a consequence of timing.
The restaurant will be run by city food service staff, Clegg said, the same people who oversee Barron Center food service and the Clock Tower Cafe in City Hall.
Clegg said minor renovations are planned for Bogey’s, and patrons should expect some healthier food options.
Garrison this week said he is still waiting for a response from the city, and the certified letter his business partner was told to expect.
“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I can just imagine it if I did get into business with them.”