PORTLAND, Maine (CelebrityAccess) The city council of Portland, Maine, voted unanimously Wednesday night to give the contract for its Maine State Pier concert series to Live Nation after months of controversy regarding current promoter Alex Gray.
Although the vote was 9-0, it is still possible for Gray and his company, Waterfront Concerts, to be part of the series that they promoted for the past three summers, according to the Press-Herald newspaper. Gray has been embroiled in controversy after pleading guilty to domestic violence last year. Last night’s meeting was reportedly packed for the discussion.
Councilor Spencer Thibodeau said the council will be paying close attention to Live Nation’s conduct in the coming months, according to the paper.
“Some people have called it an empty gesture but it isn’t,” Thibodeau said. “This is not the only time we will consider this license. We will consider it every single year.”
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling wanted to revoke the contract because Live Nation did not condemn Gray’s actions against his ex-girlfriend, victim Erica Cole. He cast the lone vote to rescind the contract but then joined the councilors in a procedural vote to support the transition to Live Nation, the Press-Herald said.
“In the end, for me, I believe Erica,” Strimling said. “It’s kind of as simple as that.”
Bob Duteau, representing Live Nation, said the company could move forward on its own but would prefer working with the local promoter. About 5,000 tickets have been sold for about six shows already.
“I’ve known Alex for a while and he’s been a true gentleman,” Duteau said. “(But) if you don’t want Alex at those shows or on your property this summer, I can make that happen.”
Despite several residents and domestic violence counselors requesting the council to rescind its contract with Gray, company officials noted that such a decision would harm more than 700 employees, 100 locally.
Gray attorney Gerard Conley Jr. stressed that his client was never convicted and that his plea was made to avoid a messy trial with the understanding the case would be dismissed, adding that the council cannot play judge and jury because of public pressure.
“Now there are people everywhere who are seeking to destroy – destroy – Mr. Gray and rewrite the narrative,” Conley said.
More detail on the Waterfront Concerts controversy is available here.