Sat, Dec. 14

Bar owner arrested for assault allowed back on business property

Michael James Anderson

Michael James Anderson

CAMP VERDE – Michael James Anderson, owner of Bootleggers Saloon and the former president of Cottonwood’s Old Town Association, was granted permission Wednesday to return to his place of business by Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Michael R. Bluff.

The hearing for modified release conditions was scheduled Monday after Anderson, who is out of custody, entered a not guilty plea to aggravated assault involving a deadly weapon.

The state asked to speak with the alleged victims before a decision was made to allow the 49-year-old Cottonwood man back at Bootleggers.

Prosecutor Ethan Wolfinger said he was able to contact the victims and learned more about the business relationship between them and Anderson.

The victims are in a lease agreement with Anderson and provided food service to the bar’s patrons.

Wolfinger said the victims were evicted, and all of their property was seized as a result.

The prosecutor said he was surprised that the victims were treated this way, but didn’t object to Anderson returning to his bar.

The judge asked defense attorney Bruce Griffen, who appeared telephonically, if the alleged assault occurred at the establishment. Griffen clarified that the alleged incident happened in a vehicle away from the property.

Griffen said he appreciates the state’s thoughts and sentiments, but added there have been issues with the victims failing to pay rent. He didn’t object to Anderson not having contact with the victims, but asked that the term “trespass” be removed. Anderson has been quite patient, he added.

Judge Bluff said he will modify the release conditions and remove the prohibition against Anderson returning to Bootleggers.

Anderson must still refrain from having contact with the victims, and continue to have his weapons surrendered.

Wolfinger stated that the victim was unaware she had been evicted, but had not been back to the business because she is scared.

Judge Bluff said the situation could get “dicey.”

If Anderson and the victims are at the same place at the same time, law enforcement could step in. Judge Bluff suggested that Anderson speak with Griffen to address this.

“On May 10, Cottonwood Police were contacted by two victims who wished to report the owner of Bootleggers Beer Club, Mike Anderson, pulled a gun on them the previous evening while they were giving him a ride to his house due to his level of intoxication,” said Sgt. Monica Kuhlt of Cottonwood Police Department in a previous news release.

Police said during the investigation, it was discovered that Anderson allegedly consumed alcohol at his bar while working there, which is a criminal offense.

“Based on that, Department of Liquor Licenses & Control (D.L.L.C) was asked to assist in the investigation,” stated the release.

Cottonwood Police and D.L.L.C detectives arrested Anderson and served a search warrant on his establishment in the 1000 block of N. Main Street, said Kuhlt.

“Anderson was subsequently booked at the Yavapai County Detention Center on two felony counts of aggravated assault involving a deadly weapon,” stated the release.

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