PORTLAND — The City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 19, will take up licenses for a controversial Old Port night club and consider updating the solid waste ordinance.
The Portland Police Department wants the council to deny a request by the Cactus Club to have its liquor and entertainment licenses renewed.
In a recommendation to the council, police document a series of complaints against the 416 Fore St. business, which is owned by Thomas Manning. Those complaints include over-serving patrons, disorderly conduct and fights.
Assistant Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said the complaints of over-serving “get to the heart” of the problems. “That speaks to a management style that allows that to happen,” Sauschuck said.
Among the incidents in the report compiled by Police Lt. Gary Hutcheson, police said they encountered two highly intoxicated females “laid out” on the sidewalk in front of the Cactus Club on March 21, 2010.
Hutcheson said the bar manager, Michael Ingalls, allegedly admitted the girls were sober when they entered and, although the doorman denied knowing about the girls, were removed by staff.
“They were deposited outside where they lacked the ability to care for themselves,” write Hutcheson, who noted the girls had consumed fruity drinks. “They were dressed in thin short dresses with no protection from the elements and were in danger of hypothermia.”
One girl was reportedly sent to Maine Medical Center for possible alcohol poisoning. Six administrative violations stemming from the incident are still pending.
On Nov. 28, 2010, police reportedly responded to a possible drug overdose at the club. A woman was allegedly carried down a back staircase leading to Wharf Street, allegedly to avoid a police incident report.
Hutcheson said all parties refused to cooperate with medical responders, and that after paramedics left he saw two men carry the woman into the back seat of a car with assistance from the bar manager, Ingalls.
Sauschuck said he believes the incidents warrant denial of the club’s licenses, even though it means people may lose their jobs if the bar closes.
“We certainly believe we have enough information in there to justify our request for denial,” he said. “Obviously, we don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, but our primary concern is public safety.”
Neither Manning nor his attorney, David Turesky, could be reached for comment.
This is the second time the city is considering denying the club’s license.
The City Council denied the club a liquor license in 2009, but Manning’s company, Allied Resources, appealed the decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
Manning won the appeal, because the court ruled the city took too long to formally notify him of the council’s decision to deny the license.
The council will also consider changes to the solid waste ordinance in an effort to stem problems like disposal of worn-out personal property on city sidewalks and accumulation of waste on private properties.
Illegal dumping of trash has been a growing problem in some neighborhoods, particularly on the peninsula.
The new ordinance would only require a single notification, verbal or electronic, to landlords before enforcement action may be taken. Those responsible for discarded property – the owner of the property abutting the sidewalk – will have 24 hours to remove the items, rather than four hours.
The ordinance also clearly outlines internal responsibilities for addressing and removing abandoned property, assigning those roles to the police chief and public works authority.
City Councilor John Anton, who leads the Solid Waste Task Force, said he expects the council will refer the changes to the Public Safety Committee.
Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org