BREMERTON -- A local mayoral candidate won't be seen in holding a venti Starbucks cup anytime soon.
According to the Kitsap Sun, Bremerton mayoral candidate Todd Best is banned from all Starbucks coffee stores for life following a contested incident at a Silverdale Way Starbucks late last year.
The ban came to light during an online radio debate on Outlaw Radio Network, an Internet radio show and podcast. The debate was between Best and incumbent Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent Sunday night. The radio host asked the candidates to ask their opponent one question each, and Lent asked Best why he did not go into Starbucks. Best explained he was banned from the store following an encounter with an employee.
According to the Sun, Best used to frequent the Silverdale Way Starbucks many times a week. On one occasion, he was in the bathroom when an employee allegedly threw away his cellphone and papers, thinking he had left for the day. Best left the bathroom and exchanged words with the employee.
It's the extent of those words, the Sun reported, that are disputed. According to Kitsap County Sheriff's Office documents, Best was rude to the staff and made "sexual comments." A letter from Best's lawyer disputes that claim, saying he was not rude to the staff, and definitely didn't mention anything of sexual nature. His lawyer said he was "understandably upset" at the employee who threw away his stuff, but respectful.
At least one Starbucks employee agrees with Best's version of the events, writing a letter on his behalf, saying he was a fixture and well-respected customer in the Silverdale store.
Still, Starbucks sided with the employee and gave Best a permanent ban at all Starbucks, claiming "repeated inappropriate conversation with store partners" that fostered an "unsafe workplace for Starbucks' employees," documents acquired by the Sun show.
It is rare for a person to be banned from all stores, a representative from Starbucks told the Sun.
Best is new to politics and a first-time challenger of Lent. Following his explanation of the incident on the radio show, Best went on to say that he never returned to the Silverdale Starbucks after his ban and would like to move forward and focus on his campaign.
The Starbucks store is located 10516 Silverdale Way.