City Reevaluating Promoter Contract After Domestic Violence Plea

Alex Gray
– Alex Gray
The city of Portland, Maine, is revisiting a decision to approve a contract for Waterfront Concerts to book the Maine State Pier after an open letter was penned by the former girlfriend of company owner Alex Gray, urging the city not do to business with him.
Gray pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault in Maine Superior Court Oct. 27, in a case brought on by his former girlfriend Erica Cole. During the plea colloquy Cole described an abusive relationship in which she portrayed Gray as controlling and explosively violent one night when she tried to leave their condo. Gray reportedly admitted to causing the pair to fall to the floor during an argument but denied ever becoming violent.
Gray’s agreement allows him to withdraw his plea and for the charges to be dropped if he abides by 22 conditions including no contact with Cole for one year, according to the Press-Herald.
Since that plea, Cole published an open letter to Portland City Manager Jon Jennings after the city renewed its contract to have Gray booking shows at the Pier. 
In her letter, Cole insinuates that the city council hadn’t made the decision to renew the contract earlier because the domestic violence case was being covered by various media outlets, and that government officials were putting the company’s profitable business deals over the interests of a victim of abuse.
She details her injuries from the night in question and the subsequent difficulties she endured, including homelessness and emotional trauma.
“I’m writing to you in hopes that you’ll find some understanding in whom you’ve selected to conduct business with,” Cole wrote. “By continuing to do business with Alex Gray and his companies, you are sending a message that domestic violence is acceptable in Portland.”
The city unanimously renewed its deal to continue having Waterfront Concerts book shows for the Maine State Pier in February, according to the Press-Herald.
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling has since said he will be bringing the issue to city council for re-consideration, writing on Twitter: “Ms. Cole’s story is heartbreaking. 
Reading it filled me with regret and sadness that I did not do more at the time of our vote to learn about what she went through. … I have placed on the next Council agenda for discussion an order to rescind our pending contracts.” 
The issue will be decided April 9, according to the Press-Herald.
Alex Gray spoke to Pollstar on the matter and while he couldn’t comment on the specifics because of the conditions of the plea agreement, he said, “I don’t understand the city’s position. There’s no new information. I may be the owner, but I’m one person of a large organization. Honestly, my employees are fantastic and the number of people affected by this is far greater than myself, although that seems to be the focus.
“I understand Ms. Cole is upset, but we fundamentally disagree about what happened that evening and will continue to do so.”
Waterfront Concerts also books shows at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor Maine. The Press-Herald reported the city was not considering revisiting its contract and Gray said he hadn’t heard anything to indicate Bangor was considering exiting their existing deal at press time.