In defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, owner Bob Martin cuts a customer’s hair at The Stag barbershop in Snohomish last month. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

In defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order, owner Bob Martin cuts a customer’s hair at The Stag barbershop in Snohomish last month. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Snohomish’s rogue barber can still be sanctioned, state says

A suspended license, threat of arrest and lawsuits have not been keeping Bob Martin from his customers.

SNOHOMISH — Barber Bob Martin keeps cutting hair and brushing aside attempts by the state to get him to stop.

Starting in early May, customers streamed into The Stag Barber Shop in spite of statewide directives barring barber shops and other nonessential businesses from operating in Snohomish County amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He continued serving patrons after the state Department of Licensing suspended his cosmetology operator license and served him with a cease-and-desist order for doing business without a salon shop license.

He didn’t blink when a letter arrived from the Snohomish Health District warning the 79-year-old that he could face criminal charges if he didn’t immediately stop giving haircuts.

And he’s not changed his behavior in spite of May 20 correspondence from the Attorney General’s Office saying that unless he complied with the rules and closed within 48 hours, “we will have no choice but to file a lawsuit against you and seek monetary penalties. This is your final warning.”

As of Thursday, Martin hadn’t been arrested or sued, though those are still possibilities.

And the Department of Licensing had not imposed further punishment, such as revoking his barber’s license or fining him $5,000 for every day he operates. Those options are possible, too.

“We will continue with our action as it relates to his unlicensed activity,” agency spokeswoman Christine Anthony said in an email.

The Attorney General’s Office is counsel for the licensing agency. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bob Ferguson explained in an email that they are letting the regulatory process proceed and legal action is still an option.

“The purpose of our letter was to make Mr. Martin aware of the full scope of potential penalties he could face as a result of his actions,” she wrote. “While our Cease and Desist letter does not specifically reference a consumer protection lawsuit, Mr. Martin could still face a consumer protection lawsuit, just as he remains subject to criminal penalties if he continues to willfully violate the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation.”

Initially, Martin was alleged to have violated Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-home order. That expired May 31, but non-essential businesses like his were not supposed to be open until Snohomish County moved to the next phase of the state’s reopening process. That happened Friday.

Even so, his case won’t be moot, Anthony said.

Martin declined to be interviewed Thursday, referring calls to his legal advisor, Rick Martin of Texas, who is not related.

Rick Martin would not confirm or deny that his client received any of the communiques, including the attorney general’s cease-and-desist order.

“Who’s to say we ever received it?” he said. “We’re not acknowledging we ever received it.”

Bob Martin’s licenses are up to date, he said. Records of the state agency say otherwise.

And Rick Martin insisted the state lacks legal authority to take the scissors out of his client’s hands.

“He is totally legit. We’re not going to pay attention to those scam orders,” Rick Martin said. “You cannot force people to close their businesses.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos

Talk to us

More in Local News

Top (L-R): Nate Nehring, Nicole Ng-A-Qui, Jared M. Mead. Bottom (L-R): Brenda Carrington, Sam Low, Brandy Donaghy.
3 challengers face long-shot odds in County Council races

Each race has a clear political divide. And each Snohomish County district reliably leans either red or blue.

This crash in Monroe happened early Friday morning after police discontinued a high-speed chase. Both occupants were taken to a hospital. (Monroe Police Department) 20211022
2 seriously injured in Monroe crash; DUI suspected

The driver hit a center lane divider and rolled his car. Police are investigating him for vehicular assault.

Everett Farmer’s Market canceled Sunday due to weather

Organizers cited a high-wind advisory. It is to reopen Oct. 31 for the final market of the season.

Snohomish School District students demonstrated in front of Snohomish High School Friday morning to protest sexual misconduct after a high school student said she was forcibly kissed in a hallway. (Isabella Breda / The Herald) 20211022
Snohomish High students walk out to protest sexual misconduct

Among other concerns, a 14-year-old student says she was forcibly kissed by a boy in the hallway.

Police: ‘Prolific’ Marysville thief stole from dozens of gym lockers

The suspect, 23, was arrested this week for investigation of more than 55 felonies.

Weimer, Hayden offer divergent views in Darrington school race

Their views on levies differ sharply. On a mask mandate and sex education, their differences are more nuanced.

A tree fell across power lines during a storm Sunday afternoon in the Lake Roesiger area northeast of Snohomish. (Lake Roesiger Fire)
Storm knocks out power for thousands in Snohomish County

High winds and steady rain were expected for much of the area until Monday.

Top row (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Michele Hampton, Gary Petershagen, Joyce Copley. Bottom row (L-R): Jessica Wadhams, Steve Ewing, Marcus A. Tageant, Joseph Jensen.
In growing Lake Stevens, controversy frames council races

The city is booming with development. Now four incumbents look to fend off challengers.

The Anchor Pub in downtown Everett on Saturday. The owner was arrested Friday in an investigation of alleged sexual assaults there. (Ellen Dennis / The Herald) 20211023
Owner of Everett’s Anchor Pub arrested in rape investigation

Patrons in recent years have reported they were apparently drugged and sexually assaulted, according to police.

Most Read