SANFORD, Maine — A divided Sanford Town Council has issued new liquor and business licenses to a caterer after he apologized for hosting sex parties at a local banquet hall he leases.
The council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to grant licenses to James Colley for one year and review them after six months. If he violates the licenses again, they may be revoked. Colley, 56, of Springvale, applied for new liquor, food, dance and entertainment licenses just three days before undercover police officers investigated one of the parties and saw about 40 people openly engaged in a variety of sexual acts.
The parties were advertised on the Internet and had a disc jockey and a buffet table, police Chief Tom Connolly said. Officers at the scene “ were shocked by the open performance of sex acts everywhere in this place,” Connolly said last month. “They literally said everywhere you turned around there was an open sex act occurring and nobody was hiding it — boom, it was there.”
The council acted a little more than a week after town officials ordered James and Susan Colley to stop renting the hall to a swingers club.
The licenses and town zoning prohibit nudity, sexual performances and adult businesses on the premises. The parties were held at the former Knights of Columbus hall in July, August and October.
James Colley said he made a “monumental business error.”
“I believe in tolerance, forgiveness and second chances,” said Councilor Bradford Littlefield told the Portland Press Herald as he recommended the probationary period.
Councilors Ken Burgess, Joseph Hanslip and Richard Wilkins voted with Littlefield.
“I think what happens between consenting adults is their business,” Hanslip said, noting that if the swingers had “invited people into their homes and pulled their shades,” the parties wouldn’t be an issue.
Police say they did not see any criminal activity at a sex party officers attended undercover last month.