Portland tavern's license appeal set for Thursday

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PORTLAND — The owners of Sangillo’s Tavern will appeal the denial of their liquor license at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at City Hall.

The hearing, postponed from Sept. 11, will be conducted by staff from the state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations. Laurence Sanborn, who manages the agency’s Liquor Licensing and Enforcement Division, said in June that public comment will be accepted at the hearing, which will reconsider the evidence heard by city councilors on March 17.

Councilors by a 5-4 vote April 7 denied a city license for the 18 Hampshire St. tavern, which has been family owned for about 60 years. If the denial is upheld, the tavern, which has remained open while the appeal is pending, would also lose its state license.

Sanborn said a decision could take 30 days or more, depending on the length of testimony, which will be limited to evidence submitted by the Portland Police Department about activity and complaints from the spring of 2013 through last winter, and steps bar owner Dana Sangillo and his staff took in response.

In March, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck and Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch said the department recommended denying the license renewal because of a repeated pattern of disturbances and a lack of adequate training for staff and management at the bar.

Tavern manager Kathleen Sangillo, her staff and patrons defended the bar, saying most police complaints about noise and fighting had come from one neighbor about incidents outside the bar. They noted two calls cited by police came from bar staff who sought assistance after patrons had been denied entry or were asked to leave.

Police also cited a Jan. 28 Hampshire Street shooting outside the bar at 1:21 a.m. that left a man paralyzed. The shooting remains unsolved, but Malloch said “all of the parties we have identified were patrons of Sangillo’s and left Sangillo’s at closing time that night.”

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.