September 22, 2019
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Domestic violence charge dismissed against concert promoter 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. in this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo.

The domestic violence charge against Maine concert promoter Alexander Gray has been dismissed, closing a case that forced New England cities to grapple with abuse allegations against a prominent businessman amid a national reckoning with sexual misconduct.

Gray, who owns the company behind a successful concert series in Portland and Bangor, withdrew his guilty plea to assaulting a former girlfriend Monday as part of a deal he reached with prosecutors to resolve the misdemeanor charge.

“From the [district attorney’s office] perspective, the agreement was fulfilled by all parties,” Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck told the Bangor Daily News on Monday, “and the victim was consulted with regard to what was going to happen today.”

The proceeding in Portland leaves Gray with a clean record one year after he told the same court that he accepted responsibility for an incident that saw Erica Cole briefly hospitalized in March 2017.

Even as he pleaded guilty, Gray has maintained that he never assaulted Cole, who over the past year has gone from an unnamed survivor to an outspoken critic of some of Maine’s largest cities’ decisions to continuing doing business with the man she says beat her.

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

Last September, before Gray pleaded guilty, Bangor signed a 10-year contract for his company, Waterfront Concerts, to put on shows at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.

Portland declined to ink a similar long-term deal with the company but agreed in February to a one-year contract for shows at the Maine State Pier. The City Council came to rue this decision months later, after Cole published an open letter telling her story of surviving domestic violence and chastising leaders in Portland and Bangor for doing business with Gray’s company.

[Portland retreats from contract with concert promoter over domestic violence case]

In April, the Portland council voted to distance itself from Gray and instead contract with his company’s national partner, Live Nation. Some Portlanders criticized this as mere symbolism, since the entertainment giant contracts with Waterfront Concerts for operations in Maine, but Cole said at the time that she was moved city leaders had listened to and believed her.

Although the criminal charges that led Portland to worry about its affairs with Waterfront Concerts were effectively erased Monday, it appears that Gray’s business may still go elsewhere.

A developer, Waterstone Property Group, is seeking to build an amphitheater in Westbrook, which it hopes will be the new home for the concerts now at the State Pier.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

BDN editor Seth Koenig contributed to this report.

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