UPDATE: Owners of Ishpeming’s Mather Inn released from jail

The Mather Inn co-owners Robin and George Baird were sentenced to jail for contempt.
The Mather Inn co-owners Robin and George Baird were sentenced to jail for contempt.(WLUC)
Published: May. 20, 2021 at 1:33 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 11:53 AM EDT
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: The owners of Ishpeming’s Mather Inn, Robin and George Baird, have been released from jail.

This follows a 30-day sentence each for contempt of court in February.

Now, a judge has ordered they pay restitution for every day they did not follow the court order up to Jan. 1.

The order, issued last August, called for the pair to restore utilities to Cognition Brewery.

They’re now ordered to pay over $78,000 for damages endured by the brewery for the duration of their contempt.

Last published: Feb 10, 2022 6:17:47 PM

On Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, Robin and George Baird appeared in Marquette County Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing. There, Robin Baird was sentenced to 30 days, and George Baird to 21 days in the Marquette County Jail.

Both were to report to the county jail by 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 7.

The Bairds’ sentencing comes as a result of their non-compliance with a court order issued on Aug. 23, 2021, which called for the pair to restore electricity to Cognition Brewery by Aug. 30, 2021. At the Aug. 23 hearing, Jay Clancey, owner of Cognition Brewery, also requested a show cause hearing, which the court granted.

At the show cause hearing on Sept. 24, 2021, the court found Robin and George Baird in contempt for non-compliance with the Aug. 23 order.

On Oct. 11, the court also issued an order permitting Clancey to stand in the shoes of the landlord to work with UPPCO to restore power to the brewery. However, Clancey presented records from UPPCO to the court on Nov. 29, 2021 as evidence showing further interference with Clancey’s efforts.

The records from UPPCO showed that on Oct. 13, George Baird specifically requested that UPPCO cut off electricity to the brewery, telling them that the property was vacant. On Oct. 21, Robin Baird reportedly asked UPPCO if Cognition Brewery had requested electricity in the Mather Inn’s name and said that she did not want electricity restored under the Mather Inn’s account.

While the court had already found Robin and George Baird in contempt for non-compliance with the Aug. 23 order, the UPPCO records demonstrated willful interference with the Oct. 11 order, resulting in the court finding both Bairds in criminal contempt at the Feb. 3 sentencing hearing.

Robin Baird has additional outstanding court dates involving the dispute between The Mather Inn and Cognition Brewery, including a criminal charge for felonious assault with a weapon. The next hearing is scheduled for March 10, 2022.

Last published: May 20, 2021 6:45:03 PM

Electricity was shut off Thursday at an Ishpeming building as an ongoing tenant-landlord battle continues.

Robin Baird, the owner of The Mather Inn on Barnum St. in Ishpeming, says the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) turned off power around 8:20 a.m. Thursday. A few hours later, Cognition Brewing Company posted on Facebook that it is closed until further notice because of the shut-off.

Cognition posted a picture of an UPPCO shut-off notice for nonpayment, dated March 9, 2021, that was sent to the owners of the building it’s housed in, The Mather Inn. The notice stated that electricity would be shut off on, or after, March 23, 2021. The past due balance on the UPPCO account shows $4,401.13.

“Payments from Cognition go directly to UPPCO, but there is only one account for the entire building,” Cognition said in a Facebook post. “We are very sorry for this inconvenience and remain thankful for the tremendous support of our patrons.”

The brewery is working to save its beer supply so it will remain fresh until the business can reopen. Cognition Owner Jay Clancey says the brewery will be OK, and hopes to reopen for part of Friday to serve beer, even if that has to happen with the help of a generator.

Baird says the two sides have gotten “absolutely nowhere” after a legal battle in Marquette County Circuit Court in 2017.

Baird, who has other tenants living at the Mather Inn, says she plans to pay UPPCO to turn the power back on. However, she says it’s Clancey who owes the money to UPPCO for the bill. She points to readings on a submeter she had installed in her building to show how much power he uses. Baird says she checks it monthly and sends Clancey a bill. Clancey says he disputes the way Baird calculates the amount of the bill, and he pays what he believes he owes UPPCO directly to the utility.

Clancey says he’s paid for more electricity than he’s used during his time at The Mather Inn. Baird says whatever Clancey doesn’t pay gets left on the bill.

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