Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room on the Portland waterfront was reopened by Darcy and Harding Lee Smith in 2013. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The owner of “The Rooms” restaurants is suing his ex-wife for failure to pay the final $150,000 she owes him for Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room on the Portland waterfront, which she took over after their divorce.

While married, Harding Lee Smith and Darcy Smith bought and renovated the legendary Boone’s, first opened in 1898 on Custom House Wharf, converting it from an events space back into a restaurant that they opened in 2013. They separated the following year.

In a lawsuit filed this month in Cumberland County Superior Court, Harding Lee Smith alleges that Boone’s owes him the final payment in a five-year, $750,000 agreement that the two signed in 2018. According to the terms of that agreement, Boone’s was obligated to pay Harding Lee Smith $150,000 annually on Aug. 15, beginning in 2019. The final payment was due this summer, but the suit alleges that Boone’s failed to make it on the due date or within the allowable 15-day grace period.

Harding Lee Smith speaks to his staff at the Front Room in 2015. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

Harding Lee Smith – who owns The Front Room, The Grill Room and The Corner Room, all in Portland, as well as the seasonal Mountain Room restaurant at Sunday River in Newry – is asking for that final payment, as well as attorney fees, any interest that has accrued, collection costs and “compensatory damages.” A second count of the lawsuit is against Darcy Smith personally, because she guaranteed the annual $150,000 payments. Harding Lee Smith said he has not taken his ex-wife to court over the contract before. “I never had to go that far, no,” he said.

The couple, who divorced in 2016 after a five-year marriage and have both since remarried, share custody of their 10-year-old son. In 2018, Darcy Smith relinquished her interest in The Rooms restaurants, according to the agreement, and he sold his 50 percent interest in Boone’s to her. The $750,000 payment represented the difference in the value of the restaurants, they said.

Darcy Smith at her restaurant Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room in the Old Port. Her ex-husband and business partner, Harding Lee Smith, has sued her for what he says is her failure to pay money she owes him for the restaurant. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

In an interview Thursday, Darcy Smith said she’d paid almost all of that final $150,000 payment on time, keeping back only a “very small amount” to cover the cost of medical bills for their son’s routine care. She said the couple’s custody agreement specified that he pay for the bills. But she said she instructed her lawyer on Wednesday to pay the $150,000 in full, because it wasn’t worth the argument and hassle with her ex-husband. “I’m too busy. This is too petty,” Darcy Smith said.


Harding Lee Smith denied her account that she’d paid most of the money on time, but declined to discuss the lawsuit in detail, calling it a “private matter.”

“A debt is a debt,” he said. He said that as of Thursday early afternoon, his lawyer had not informed him that his former wife had paid in full. “That would be news to me,” he said. “That would be a good outcome. Then everything would be just fine.”

Neither Harding Lee Smith’s lawyer, Dan Cumming, nor Darcy Smith’s lawyer, Tim Benoit, could be reached Thursday.


Reporter Tim Cebula contributed to this story. 

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