SANFORD, Maine—Someone up there is watching out for James U. Colley. By up there, we mean Maine. The owner of a catering business has been granted a "fresh start" after undercover cops caught him and his wife hosting sex parties for swingers. In a close town council vote, it was determined his license will not be revoked for local code violations.
According to Fosters.com, Colley and his wife, Susan, have operated Great Beginnings Catering at Mousam View Place at 47 High Street (pictured) in Sanford for 10 years. On Oct. 21, they were cited for violating city ordinances regulating liquor, food and entertainment licenses. That’s code for “sex.”
“The charges resulted from activities observed by undercover police officers at a Halloween-themed event at the hall on Oct. 15,” wrote Sanford news writer Ellen W. Todd. “While the officers observed ‘no illegal activity’ at the party, they observed a wide spectrum of sexual activity in clear violation of state and town codes. According to the letter from the code enforcement officer, the police officers observed nudity and people engaging in a variety of sex acts, which in themselves are not illegal among consenting adults. However, such conduct in ‘immediate proximity’ to where food and alcohol are prepared and/or served violates state liquor laws. Also, some patrons allegedly watched others perform live sex acts for the purpose of ‘entertainment or diversion.’”
The charges—allowing tumultuous conduct at licensed premises, allowing conduct amounting to a nuisance, prostitution and public indecency and obscenity—read like a litany of small-town sin. Sanford Code Enforcement Officer Shirley Sheesley told them to cease the activities immediately.
At a town council meeting Tuesday to address his application for a new license, Colley said, "I made a monumental business error and I'm truly sorry for that.”
The parties, he said, were owned and run by someone else, and he has told them that there will be no more at the High Street location.
"I have informed the owner of the group, which is neither Sue nor myself, that the parties will no longer take place at Mousam View Place," Colley informed Sheesley in an email.
To further make the case that he has turned a new leaf, so to speak, Colley’s application for a new license is for a business renamed Fresh Start Catering, which for some may imply some past indiscretion the owner wants buried and forgotten.
Nothing, of course, brings out an “I-swear-I’ll-never-do-it-again” attitude than being caught with your pants down. For some on the town council, Colley’s entreaties were convincing.
"Initially I was inclined to vote to deny the licenses," said councilor Bradford Littlefield. "But after some soul searching I have come to the conclusion that would not be in the best interests of this Council or Mr. Colley."
Other businesses have been forgiven their past transgressions, he said, and cited Club Adrenaline and City Lights as two examples. Stating that he believes in "tolerance, forgiveness and second chances,” he added that three violations in four months should not be cause for depriving someone of their livelihood, and proposed a compromise in which a provisional license is granted Fresh Start for a year, with a six-month reevaluation.
Not every councilmember was so forgiving. “Saying he was doing his ‘damnedest’ to do control his temper, Councilor Alan Walsh said angrily that the council's responsibility was to uphold the town's ordinances and Colley had violated every letter of the ordinance,” reported Fosters.com.
In the end, the council voted 4 to 3 to grant Colley new liquor and amusement licenses, a new dance permit and a new victualer's license.
No word on where the sex club, which we assume will not take this slight lying down, is moving its base of operations.
Photo: Mousam View Place