The most valuable lesson to be had in 2016 may be that tying your firm’s products to politics is a bad business model.

The latest person to learn this lesson is a Maine propane distributor who recently refused to sell gas to Trump voters.

If you call Turner LP Gas in Skowhegan, you get a message from owner Michael Turner: “If you voted for Donald Trump for president, I will no longer be delivering your gas,” it says. “Please find someone else.”

Reached on Friday night, Turner said he recorded the message on Election Day. After media learned of it earlier that day, he said he had 50 voicemails. Most of them were from angry Trump supporters, but he said one of four were supportive.

He said Trump is “despicable” and said, “I think he’s the Antichrist,” though the Skowhegan native and veteran said his family likely all voted for the president-elect because of his stances on gun rights and abortion.

To say there was blow-back would be an understatement. The phone has been ringing off the hook, and not in the good, free-market-success way, either!

Perhaps that is why Turner is re-evaluating his business model? He indicates that he is about to retire, and that he would never deny anyone freezing much-needed fuel.

“I haven’t denied anybody gas. I never intended to do that. I want to thank all the haters who have called me for their support and mostly I want to thank all the people who’ve called and given me a thumbs up. They really mean a lot,” said Turner.

He says he’s helping the last of his customers find a new propane dealer. And until they do, he’ll keep them warm.

Considering that he referred to Donald Trump as despicable and the Anti-Christ, I might suggest Turner spend some time reflecting on his use of the term “hater”.

As Hillary Clinton is discovering, a dramatic display of hubris is usually followed by a visit from Nemesis. Because Turner decided to exercise his First Amendment right to express himself, other Americans exercised their right to indulge in some due diligence.

The result? It has been determined that Turner is not licensed to sell propane gas.

Turner is not licensed to sell gas. According to the Maine Fuel Board, Turner’s propane license expired in 2012. Turner had two licenses, one for delivery and the other for dispensing, which expired in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The board became aware of the issue after the news of Turner’s message was reported by the Portland Press Herald late last week.

According to records with the Maine Fuel Board, Turner was first licensed to sell propane in 1998. Doug Dunbar, a spokesperson for the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, said the department is aware that Turner’s license expired. It is illegal to operate without a license. He said anyone can renew a license at any time, and someone operating without a license could face disciplinary action from the department or fines from the state attorney general’s office. As part of the renewal process, an inspection of the location would be conducted to make sure it meets code requirements.

We wish Turner a Merry Christmas and a happy retirement. He should really consider a stint as MSNBC for his next career. It appears there is no permit needed to opine…yet.

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