The owners of a closed Portland restaurant have been indicted on theft and check kiting charges, according to the Cumberland County district attorney’s office.
Acclaimed chef Shannon Bard, 47, and her husband, Thomas Bard, 62, both of Kennebunk, closed Zapoteca in June amid financial difficulties that led to lawsuits filed by creditors, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Zapoteca, a Mexican restaurant on Fore Street, was favorably reviewed. Shannon Bard had appeared on the popular Food Network competition shows “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Kitchen Inferno” and published a cookbook prior to the restaurant’s closing
The couple in 2016 opened a restaurant and cooking school in Kennebunk. Shannon Bard told the Bangor Daily News last year that they closed Zapoteca to concentrate on those businesses and their children.
Shannon Bard was indicted on one count each of theft by unauthorized taking and negotiating a worthless instrument, both Class C counts. Thomas Bard was indicted on the same charges but they are Class B counts.
The threshold for a Class C theft is $1,000. The threshold for a Class B theft is $10,000.
According to WGME, CBS 13, Shannon Bard is accused of writing 15 bad checks totaling more than $8,000 to Bow Street Distribution between March and June of last year, while Thomas Bard is accused of writing 21 bad checks to the same distributor totaling more than $10,000.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday at the Cumberland County Courthouse, according to the court clerk’s office. Shannon Bard is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. March 27.
No attorneys have entered their appearances on behalf of the couple, the clerk’s office said.
If convicted, Shannon Bard faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Thomas Bard faces up to 10 years in prison and fine of up to $20,000. Both also could be ordered to pay restitution.
Neither the restaurant nor the Bards have filed for bankruptcy, according a search of Maine’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.
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