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Cornerstone owner keeps his options open for bar

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD James Regan, the owner of the Cornerstone Lounge on Page Boulevard, plans to appeal Mayor Charles Ryan's decision not to grant his bar an entertainment license.

He also has the building up for sale with an asking price of $895,000.

Attorney Thomas Rooke told Reminder Publications that Regan's action prepares him for either continuing in business once the six-month suspension of his liquor license is over or selling the business.

Rooke said that within 10 to 14 days he would request a writ of review in Superior Court concerning Ryan's decision. Rooke said a judge would then decide whether or not to schedule a hearing on the matter.

In a letter to Regan dated Dec. 29, 2005, Ryan wrote "I have grave concerns about your ability or desire to responsibly manage the Cornerstone Lounge. To that end, I find that issuing you a 2006 entertainment license will adversely affect the public health, safety, or order and allow you to conduct the licensed activity in a manner which fails to protect employees, patrons, and members of the public inside or outside the premises from criminal activity specifically illegal drug dealing activity. Therefore I hereby deny your 2006 application for an annual entertainment license."

Ryan noted in his letter that the reasons for his refusal stemmed from the sale of drugs at the bar.

"Specifically I find that on five occasions you failed to protect the employees, patrons and/or members of the public from illegal drug dealing activity inside and outside the licensed premises on June 26, 27, July 11 (twice) and July 12, 2003," he wrote. "... On each date in question, management and ownership of the Cornerstone Lounge failed to provide adequate and proper supervision of the premises to deter the illegal drug dealing occurring within the establishment."

Ryan also noted that "On Nov. 15, 2005 the Springfield Board of License Commissioners ordered the Cornerstone Lounge to prohibit Vincent Washington from being an agent, employee, contractor, and/or patron of the establishment. On or about December 1, 2005 you submitted the 2006 Application for Annual Entertainment License. The corporate check of 632 Page Boulevard Inc d.b.a. Cornerstone Lounge that accompanied the 2006 application was signed by Vincent Washington. You testified that Mr. Washington's wife serves as the bookkeeper for the Cornerstone Lounge. You were unable to recognize the signature on the check as Vincent Washington's. You were unable to recall if Mr. Washington's wife had authority to sign corporate checks a corporation of which you are the sole shareholder. I found all of this testimony to be evasive, astonishing and not credible. I find that through November 28, 2005, as evidenced by the signed check, Vincent Washington remained an agent of the Cornerstone Lounge, in defiance of the order of the Springfield Board of License Commissioners."

The Cornerstone Lounge is listed with Perrela Real Estate Company, Inc. in East Longmeadow and is described as a two-story Art Deco 10,000 square foot building with one bar and three banquet rooms on .13 acres