Former Springfield mayor to mediate complaint against bar - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Former Springfield mayor to mediate complaint against bar

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Earlier this week, CBS 3 told you about an incident involving an Easthampton veteran who was kicked out of a bar on Thanksgiving night because of his service dog.

Now, state officials are getting involved.

While the Pulaski Club and its Vice President Scott Vishaway would not comment on Friday, Governor's Councilor and former Springfield Mayor Mike Albano has spoken with the group.  He hopes to resolve the issue soon.

"This situation just begs for some type of mediation," said Albano.

The governor's councilor said a third party reached out, asking for him to help in the incident. 

Veteran Gary Houle said he was at the bar Thanksgiving night with his service dog, Princess. Houle said a waitress and a bar manager questioned the dog's ID, even after providing proof. The conversation became heated and Houle said he was thrown out.

Now, Albano wants to bring both sides to the table.

"I've been through dozens of these types of mediations," said Albano. "Obviously there is two sides to every story, but this is a particularly sensitive one. Given the season, we'd like to put a team together to see if we can resolve the differences."

In trying to reach an agreement between Houle and the bar, Albano said he will team up with Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, who began his career representing members of the U.S. Army and Air Force.

"I have great respect for the district attorney," Albano stated. "He is extremely sensitive to issues of veterans. He's the right person to put this together and hopefully we could have some mediation in the next 24 hours and resolve this."

Albano believes his time as Springfield's mayor will help bring this incident to a resolution.

"Whether it's contract disputes or picketing, or sensitive situations in the community, I've had some experience in mediation," said Albano. "I'm just hopeful that this will be the time of the season that we can put something together that makes sense for all parties."

Albano said Sullivan will be the one reaching out to Houle, who is planning a protest outside of the Pulaski Club for this Sunday.

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