As California’s marijuana industry works to project an image of mainstream respectability, one of its best-known companies has come under attack by a former insider.
MedMen Enterprises Inc. is trying to bring pot sales into the mainstream by providing sleek, comfortable stores in high-profile locations, and its strategy often is said to emulate the Apple store model.
MedMen, which also has weed-growing operations to provide the stores’ inventory, has spent millions on advertising, including rolling truck-side branding. (Those aren’t MedMen’s trucks seen traveling Southern California freeways, just ones whose owners were willing to slap an ad on the outside.)
Now, the fast-growing marijuana retailer is being sued by its former chief financial officer, who alleges the Culver City firm forced him out for objecting to a variety of alleged misdeeds at the company, whose stock became publicly traded last year.
James Parker, who was chief financial officer for less than a year in 2018, alleged in his suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court that his departure Nov. 5 “was far from voluntary” and that he was pushed out by the firm, which is led by MedMen co-founders Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin, the firm’s chief executive and president, respectively.
MedMen forced Parker “to choose between complying with his fiduciary duty” to the company and its shareholders or “turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to improper and unlawful behavior” at the firm, Parker alleged.
That alleged behavior included “profligate spending of company funds for [the co-founders’] own personal benefit,” questionable company efforts to prop up MedMen’s stock, falsifying Parker’s signature on a securities form and a work environment “replete with racial, homophobic and misogynistic epithets and slurs,” the suit claims.
February 24, 2019