October 23, 2018
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Bangor candidate gives away re-election donation from Alex Gray

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Concert promoter Alex Gray (right) walks into court in Portland with hist attorney Gerard P. Conley Jr.

A Bangor City Council member gave away a $100 donation to his re-election campaign from concert promoter Alex Gray, who last week pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge.

Ben Sprague, 34, said that even before Gray appeared in court he had “grappled” with whether to keep the contribution. Sprague said his mind was made up by Gray’s guilty plea last week.

“Part of me had hoped that maybe the allegations would not turn out to be true,” Sprague said. “But once he pled guilty, I just decided that I didn’t want to use those funds to help me with my campaign.”

[Maine concert promoter pleads guilty to domestic violence charge, maintains he didn’t do it]

Sprague told the BDN that he donated the money to Partners for Peace, which helps domestic abuse survivors in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. Amanda Cost, the organization’s facilitative director, confirmed Sprague’s donation and said that Sprague’s “intentions make a lot of sense to us.”

Gray pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Superior Court to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge brought in March by his ex-girlfriend, but he denied in court that he had beaten her. The woman told police that Gray tripped her before repeatedly slamming her head into a wooden floor.

Gray, a 41-year-old Old Town native, is perhaps best known for bringing big-name musicians to the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor.

[Bangor, promoters ink 10-year Waterfront Concerts deal]

Sprague, who said he did not solicit the Sept. 21 donation, is the only candidate in the six-person Bangor City Council race to whom Gray donated, according to candidate financial reports.

In September, the city of Bangor entered into a 10-year contract with Gray that requires the Waterfront venue host at least 10 shows a year and gives the city a larger cut of ticket sales. City Manager Cathy Conlow said Friday that Gray’s guilty plea will not affect the contract.

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