BY CHRIS FAULKNOR & BENJAMIN GOHS
Protesting what he sees as governmental overreach regarding his liquor license landed Boyne resident Michael Long in jail Sunday after he defaced a portion of the facade at the Family Fare supermarket located at 430 North Lake St. in Boyne City.
What began in recent weeks with Facebook posts and large signs placed all over the outside of his business—the Par-T-Pac liquor store located at 123 North Lake st. in Boyne City—ended May 21 with his arrest when Long climbed a ladder and painted the the letters “UN” in between the words “Family” and “Fare” on the grocery store’s big red sign.
“We can barely squeak out a living there now,” Long said from high atop his ladder on Sunday. “Our sales have dropped in half since the liquor license went in here.”
Despite some of the language on the signs on his own business, Eminent Domain has nothing to do with the issue. Another misapprehension is that Family Fare stole Long’s liquor license—it did not.
“This town is not big enough to have a third liquor license,” Long said. “Especially when you put it in a supermarket. The competitive advantage is too great.”
Police initially asked Long to come down, to which he responded, “I’ve already broke the law, I understand that. But, I’ve done everything I can possibly do legally for three years and I can’t get any satisfaction. I can’t get any court to even look at it.”
He added, “I’ve gotta make a statement, man. I’ve got to make a stand at some point.”
Long also waved a large American flag and talked about his wife leaving him before a Boyne City Policeman and Charlevoix County Sheriff Chuck Vondra were able to talk him down.
“This is still America,” Long said shortly before coming down the ladder. “We still have Constitutional rights … if the government would follow it themselves but they don’t. They bow down to their corporate overlords, they hurt small businesses, they destroy single families—you know why, because they say you aren’t big enough to fight back.”
Long came down the ladder and surrendered peacefully to a mix of sheriff and Boyne City Police officers. The police were called at 12:39 p.m. and Long was in custody by 1:23 p.m.
According to Boyne City Police Chief Jeff Gaither, Long was lodged in the Charlevoix County Jail overnight on charges of Malicious Destruction of Property, which carries a misdemeanor.
“Once he came down he was very cooperative,” said Gaither. “Everything went smooth.”
Family Fare officials inside the Boyne City store had no comment on the matter.
“I’m glad that it ended the way that it did and he came down on his own,” said Vondra. “Mike Long, that’s not the kind of guy that he is. He’s in a tough spot.”
According to the Charlevoix County 90th District Court, Long had not yet been arraigned as of early Monday morning.