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Liquor sales halted at Mr. Biggs after brawl

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By Emile Hallez

  Another wild weekend at Mr. Biggs has resulted in a temporary halt to the entertainment facility’s liquor sales. Meanwhile, the future of the business remains murky in the wake of a liquor-licensing board hearing that left nearly everyone involved scratching their heads.

A Feb. 27 incident at the business prompted another appearance of owner Art Cormier before the county liquor-licensing board. Cormier then signed over his company’s lease at the property March 2, the same day the Sheriff’s Office requested a summary suspension of the liquor license and the same day the new tenant’s company, Littleton Holdings LLC, was formed. Wayne Merritt, one of Cormier’s employees at Mr. Biggs, signed the new lease agreement as the newly formed business’ manager.

“It’s a little confusing just trying to keep track of what the roles of the parties are,” said assistant county attorney Martin McKinney, who advises the liquor-licensing board. “Even people who were at the hearing were confused. … This is just a very unusual situation.”

The Sheriff’s Office issued a handful of citations late Feb. 27 at Mr. Biggs. Two staff members — manager Larry Crook and server Kari Krumrie — were given summonses for allegedly attempting to provide alcohol to a person under 21, a class 2 misdemeanor.

A brawl also took place after a server apparently cut off four intoxicated customers, one of whom punched her in the face.

“One of the males jumped in and punched the waitress in the face for fighting with his girlfriend,” sheriff’s spokesman Mark Techmeyer said. “It’s pretty much a Mr. Biggs type of deal. … They had alcohol at their facility, and crimes were committed.”

All four of the customers — two men and two women — were cited for disorderly conduct, and one was also cited for third-degree assault. One of the customers was also a minor, Techmeyer said.

A request for summary suspension of Mr. Biggs’ liquor license was added March 2 to the board’s March 4 agenda. The building’s lease changed hands on the same day, with the agreement taking effect at 11:59 p.m. March 2. The articles of organization for the new tenant, Littleton Holdings LLC were filed at 2:51 p.m. March 2 with the Colorado secretary of state.

“Mr. Cormier had signed his interest in the lease over to someone else,” McKinney said.

The change in lease kept the board from suspending Mr. Biggs’ liquor license, which is currently held by one of Cormier’s business entities. A proposed stipulation, however, prevents the location from legally selling alcohol until the license is transferred.

“The license was not revoked, and it was not suspended,” McKinney said, noting that a prior stipulation agreed to at the board’s Feb. 18 meeting would have allowed only a 15-day suspension. The prior stipulation also mandated that no alcohol be served at the location after March 20 with the existing liquor license.

“There was a stipulation that was proposed and agreed to … that as of the moment neither Mr. Cormier or anyone under his direction was to be selling alcohol at that location,” McKinney said. “As of yesterday’s hearing, no one should be serving alcohol there.”

A transfer of ownership of the liquor license could change that, however. The county had not yet received an application for the transfer, and if one is filed, public comment may not be considered in the transfer’s approval.

“Normally we encourage people to coordinate any concerns they have with the sheriff,” McKinney said. Public input, such as whether the community has concerns about a new liquor provider in the area, is not allowed unless it pertains specifically to the moral fitness of the new owner. “It does not apply to a transfer,” he said.

Merritt said he is one of the co-owners of a new business at the location and that he will have a managerial role. Though Mr. Biggs continues to be the name of the business, details of the transaction have yet to be seen.

“Mr. Biggs has gone through some difficult times,” Merritt said. “We did not purchase Art Cormier’s company,” he noted, adding there is “no connection, no role,” for Cormier with the new entity.

“I just want to make sure we get back to the family-friendly environment.”

Concerts and club nights will no longer be held at the business, Merritt said, though he will be pursuing a transfer of the existing liquor license.

Cormier made apparent a supposed desire to relinquish his interest in the business, agreeing to a stipulation Feb. 18 that if he or Crook operated the establishment after March 20, the liquor license would have been immediately suspended.

The event came a matter of days after the collection of white horse statues were taken down from the property.

Cormier and Crook were due in county court March 9 on charges related to alleged nudity at a Dec. 18 fashion show at the business. The Sheriff’s Office found about 45 women, some of whom were allegedly topless and having their bodies painted, behind a curtained-off area at the entertainment center.

  Contact Emile Hallez Williams at emile@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22. For updates, check www.ColumbineCourier.com.