Panda's closing sparks rumors

MANCHESTER - Owing multiple years rent. Prostitution. Using raccoon meat in cooking. Heroin deals. Serving minors alcohol. The local rumor mill keeps in chugging out something new and different everyday surrounding the closing of Panda Garden.

However, none of those rumors check out.

Dewayne Bailey, assets manager at Iron Point Titan Asset Management, was able to confirm that Iron Point Titan does in fact own the property. However, when he was asked if the tenants were evicted, he said that it was company policy not to comment on tenant relations. He also would not respond to any of the allegations of criminal activity on the premises.

Manchester Police Chief Mike Hall said that his police department has not had any run ins with the restaurant. Tom Curran, with the Department of Liquor Control said that the establishment did not in fact lose their liquor license due to serving minors.

"It seems like they left in the middle of the night ... it's possibly a tax issue," he said. "It looks like it is as business related issue."

Curran said he had heard many of the rumors, from the sale of drugs to the breeding of raccoons, but they were just that. Rumors.

However, their liquor license has not been renewed, Curran said.

Bennington County State's Attorney Erica Marthage said she has also heard the allegations and they are rumors. There have been no criminal charges filed and she has not seen any evidence of illegal activity.

There were also rumors that Panda Garden was staffed by undocumented workers and there was potentially a prostitution ring involved. Calls to Daniel Modricker with U.S. Customs and Immigration were not returned. However, when other individuals in law enforcement, like Hall, in the area were asked they responded that there was no contact with police or that these were rumors.

Alleged drugs sales on the property were also dismissed as rumors.


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