LIVERMORE — Selectpersons voted 3-2 Monday to deny a liquor renewal application for Michael Weaver, owner of the Carriage House Cafe on Route 4, because the application did not include all criminal convictions.

The board plans to send a letter to the state telling the Bureau of Alcohol Beverages & Lottery Operations why selectpersons denied the application and that there have been no alcohol violations or issues at the restaurant for the 12 or so years it has existed in the town.

Board of Selectpersons Chairman Mark Chretien and Selectpersons Rod Newman and Tim Kachnovich voted to deny the application while Selectpersons Megan Dion and Peter Castonguay voted to approve it.

The license renewal application had been approved for several years without complete information on it, unbeknownst to previous board members.

The board is trying to take corrective action, Administrative Assistant Carrie Castonguay said.

The state’s application for renewal asks if the applicant or manager has been convicted of any violation of the law, other than minor traffic violations. Listed as the answer was pot, a Class D misdemeanor, probation for the punishment. Another drug violation was listed with probation.

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Monday night’s meeting was the third on the application. The board wanted the information completed with the correct charge and punishment. Weaver did submit paperwork on the conviction this time and termination of probation on the marijuana conviction.

“This has been difficult,” Newman said. “If anyone knows me, I am not anti-business.”

The issue is the application has false information on it, meaning much of the criminal history was left out, he said.

“On those grounds alone, we have the right to deny application,” Newman said.

Selectpersons directed Castonguay in October to get a State Bureau of Identification report on Weaver.

She submitted the information to the board.

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The report has multiple felonies on it, including for marijuana and other drugs and firearms which clearly, by law, disqualifies a license, Newman said.

Weaver’s criminal history goes back to 1980 with convictions on three felony counts of unlawful trafficking of a schedule X drug. The punishment was four years in state prison with all but two years suspended and one year probation. Probation was revoked in 1984, according Castonguay’s information.

The history has several other convictions, including assault, theft, possession of a firearm by a felon and three counts of unlawful trafficking in schedule W drugs in 1986. On the latter, he was sentenced to 10 years with all but three years suspended with two years of probation.

His most recent conviction was two felony counts of aggravated furnishing of scheduled drugs and a misdemeanor conspiracy conviction in 2001. He received a three-year suspended sentence and three years for the drug charges, and a suspended 364-day sentence for the misdemeanor and one year probation. 

Weaver pointed out that a misdemeanor charge became a felony because of the prior drug charges.

A couple of people in the audience said Weaver has paid his debt to society and that without a liquor license, the business may have to close.

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As a selectperson, Newman said he didn’t feel he had the authority to approve the license.

“I feel it should be a state decision,” he said. He said he was willing to have the board send a letter to the state notifying it there has been no complaints or major offenses at the restaurant.

Weaver’s mother, Sylvia Lane, said the majority of the offenses were when he was young and over 30 years ago. She said she is proud of him for making positive changes in his life.

Weaver said he has done much for the community and makes his employees take training that not all establishments require. He put copies of articles about those good deeds on the board’s table.

If Weaver had listed the actual offense instead of pot, he wouldn’t have questioned the application, Newman said.

The application is not correct, Kachnovich said. There is an extensive criminal history and it is not listed, he said.

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Castonguay and Dion said there have been no alcohol complaints against Weaver or the restaurant. He hasn’t had any other convictions since 2001, they said.

“I wouldn’t mind approving his license” since it was approved in the past, she said. She wondered if they could give some grace, but going forward the application should contain accurate information, she said.

Dion said she would be willing to give Weaver a second chance.

Part of what the board is looking at is someone’s character, including if they follow the rules and if there is a history of breaking the law, Kachnovich said.

The issue is this hasn’t been dealt with correctly, he said.

Weaver can appeal to the state on the license.

Newman said he believes people can change and it appears Weaver has done so. But the application needs to be complete, he said.

“We are not against him to get a license,” he said.

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