Windham man pleads innocent to violating restaurant smoking ban
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) A Windham businessman has become the first person to be taken to court for allegedly violating the state's new restaurant smoking ban.
Dick Metayer, who changed the name of his business from Uncle Dick's Family Restaurant to Uncle Dick's Smoking Club, pleaded innocent Wednesday, saying he should be exempt from the law.
''I've made it a private club, and you don't go in unless you're a member. You pay a membership fee, and I allow you to smoke,'' Metayer said.
John Archard, coordinator of tobacco control for the attorney general's office, said Metayer was trying to get around the law.
Archard said he did not agree that imposing a $1 cover charge on patrons who wanted to come in and smoke was sufficient to change the restaurant into a private club.
Metayer's case was continued to Feb. 1 in District Court.
Violating the smoking ban is a civil offense. Those found guilty could face fines of $100 for each violation.