PORTLAND, Maine (CelebrityAccess) — Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling called on the city council to pull its support for contract negotiations with Maine concert promoter who pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge.
Mayor Strimling’s decision came after meeting with the Erica Cole, the victim of the assault after she wrote a blog post calling on the city’s government to cut ties with Waterfront concerts and its owner, Alex Gray.
“I think we should not move forward with the contract,” the mayor said. “I think we need to make a strong statement around domestic violence. Our values are more important than our bottom line.”
Waterfront Concerts promotes events from Rhode Island to Bangor, including shows at Portland’s Maine State Pier and Merrill Auditorium.
Gray pleaded guilty in October to a domestic violence charge Friday, but denied having beaten his ex-girlfriend in an incident in March that led to a brief hospitalization for Cole. Gray’s plea was part of a deal he reached with state prosecutors that will see his conviction deferred for one year at which time it will be dismissed if Gray avoids contact with Cole and abstains from alcohol or drug use during that time.
Gray’s guilty plea stems from an incident in March where Gray was alleged to have assaulted his then-girlfriend Erica Cole. A police report from the incident said that after a night of drinking, Gray kicked out the legs from underneath Cole and then grabbed her by the throat and repeatedly slammed her head into the ground, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The city council’s vote to determine if they will pull support for negotiations with Waterfront is slated for April 18th, the Press-Herald said.
“My hope is that the Portland City Council will show the same level of support and take appropriate action,” Cole said in a written statement on Tuesday. “By taking action, our City Council will help more women realize the power of their own voice and see that Portland is a place that doesn’t tolerate violence against women.”
Gray maintains that despite his guilty plea, he did not assault Cole in the manner described.
In October, he told the Bangor Daily News: “I’m 206 pounds and have a gym in my house. I would be on trial for murder if I did what she said I did.”