By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Four drug charges and one gun charge are now filed against 38-year-old Michael E. Maine, who police describe as owner/bartender of the Corner Pocket bar in The Junction.
The bar is closed, its license suspended for six months and facing permanent revocation, in the wake of Maine’s arrest last Friday night. That night, we reported on police serving what they described as a “drug-related warrant” at the bar and at Maine’s home; on Monday, we published a followup with information from the probable-cause documents and the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Today, we have obtained the newly filed court documents that charge Maine with five felonies; we also have the LCB’s emergency order suspending the Corner Pocket’s liquor license.
The first charge against Maine is second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. This was not mentioned in the probable-cause documents we detailed in our Monday report. Prosecutors allege that last Friday night, when warrants were served at both the Corner Pocket and at Maine’s home northeast of Morgan Junction, police found a 9mm Glock handgun in a safe at the house, and that its magazine contained two rounds. The gun’s serial numbers had been removed, the documents say, adding that “items of dominion and control” in the safe bore Maine’s name.
Maine cannot legally have a gun, prosecutors wrote, because he is a convicted felon, having been convicted in 1995 of taking a motor vehicle without permission. The rest of his criminal history over the past 21 years, according to the charging papers’ supplementary documents, consists of misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, including assault, hit and run, vehicle prowling, violation of a protection order, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and the plea-bargained drug charge we mentioned in our Monday report.
Otherwise, today’s charging documents include the same police narrative we summarized on Monday, focusing on the four “controlled buys” of heroin that police say were made from Maine, by undercover officers, in November – three at the bar, one in the Jefferson Square parking lot.
Maine remains out of jail after posting bond over the weekend on $25,000 bail, the same amount requested in today’s charging papers. He is expected back in court two weeks from today for arraignment, at which time he will enter an initial plea.
Meantime, via a public-records request, we obtained the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s emergency suspension order for the Corner Pocket. As previously reported, it is a six-month suspension, with notice that the board intends to seek permanent revocation after that. The document explains that the board “may summarily suspend a liquor license for up to 180 days, without a prior hearing, when the Board finds that the public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.” The board order decrees a suspension from December 2, 2016, to May 31, 2017.
The documents comprising the order include the police narrative regarding the alleged “controlled buys” that have resulted in charges against Michael Maine. They also refer to two “administrative violations” in the past, both involving the same Corner Pocket employee (not Maine) who was accused of drinking alcohol on the job in 2014 and 2015, and penalties paid by the bar as a result. The board also notes that while the liquor license has been in the name of Michael Eugene Maine since 1996, the birthdate accompanying that name is that of Maine’s same-name father, who died five years ago. The board claims that it was never notified of the senior Maine’s death.
The board documents also say that complaints about alleged drug sales at the Corner Pocket go back at least two years, citing a tip-line complaint in December 2014 alleging that a “bartender is alleged to have been selling drugs for the last four years and was the son of the owner of the Corner Pocket bar.” A complaint was referred to Seattle Police in January 2015, the documents say.
The board’s order also provides the opportunity for Maine to seek a hearing on a potential stay of the suspension if a request is filed by December 17th, so we will be checking on that.