I-Team: Dispensary facing financial troubles, lawsuits

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A dispensary is facing financial troubles and employees are turning to the I-Team for answers.

Court records show workers and former workers at Canopi Cannabis Dispensary did not receive their paychecks on time and their health insurance was temporarily cancelled because their premiums weren’t paid by the business.

“I’m about to lose my car. I can’t pay rent. I can’t pay medications, doctors’ fees. I don’t have money to do anything. I don’t have gas in my car. I don’t have food in my fridge,” said former employee Ruby Gonzales.

Some current and former employees of Canopi Cannabis Dispensary say they are getting the runaround when it comes to getting their paychecks. Some can’t make their rent.

“I was evicted,” said Jamar Morris, employee.

Another was too broke to buy her son a cake on his birthday.

“The reason why I was able to get him a cake was Catholic Charities. They gave us a cookie cake,” said former employee Jennifer Peterson

The former and current employees, who spoke with the I-Team on May 28, said they were behind on bills because their paychecks were late.

“The first time it happened, at the end of February, I had my first ever panic attack at work,” said Marcus Miller, employee.

CWNevada, the parent company of Canopi Cannabis, filed for bankruptcy in April. According to court documents, as of May 3, the company owed more than $405,000 in taxes and nearly $118,000 in rent. But a federal bankruptcy judge threw the case out which means the company is likely still on the hook to pay its bills.

Other court documents reveal CWNevada was ordered to pay consultants named 4Front Advisors $4.9 million.

According to Metro Police, the constables seized more than $8,000 from the business in February. Records show that the business is ultimately managed by Brian Padgett who is also an attorney.

Noemie Derval says she was a manager at Canopi.

“I’d like to see Brian in an orange jumpsuit going to prison,” she said.

The I-Team reached out to Padgett by email, phone and a visit to the dispensary.

Brian Padgett

In an email on May 30, he asked for the opportunity to give his side of the story, and said he’d need to clear it with his legal team first. On June 4, an attorney representing the company suggested Mr. Padgett was open to granting an interview, but he never agreed to an on-camera interview.

Padgett and the former employees the I-Team spoke with both say they are under a non-disclosure agreement with his company.

Padgett threatened a lawsuit against channel 8 if the story aired.

Later a spokesman sent a statement:

“As the parent company of Canopi Cannabis Dispensaries has recently been in active bankruptcy, company policy stipulated that no comments were to be made during this time. As the bankruptcy situation has just been resolved, appropriate attention to this matter will now be addressed accordingly and forthwith.”

“It’s so much more than just not paying us,” Derval said. “There’s a reason why there’s seven to eight lawsuits against him. There’s a reason why he’s battling his partners and he’s tried to tell us that it’s all their fault and he’s the good guy and I have no sympathy for him.”

On June 12, after a hearing for one of the lawsuits the company is facing, The I-Team caught up with Padgett and asked him if employees would be paid.

“What we’re doing right now is I have a company of over 125 employees that we haven’t made a single cut in pay on. That we have not laid people off and we are continuing to pay each and everyone of them. We might be slow but that’s because certain people have been actively attempting to close our stores. And even though it hurts, even though I may bleed, I’m not leaving those people by the side of the road and I think that’s the story that people have missed. No further comment. Thank you,” Padgett said.

But that same day, several employees told the I-Team, they still hadn’t been paid. Now, some of them are suing CWNevada. They allege their health insurance lapsed and they weren’t getting paid on time.

There are at least seven lawsuits filed against the company. In one case, one partner is suing Padgett for mismanaging the business, in another case the landlord at the Blue Diamond location is suing, alleging he has not been paid rent.

“We’re like, where’s our money? Why haven’t we paid these vendors from last year? Why have we not paid our rent? Why haven’t we paid our employees? So, a lot of questions pop up. There’s really no real answer,” said former employee Gregg Grant.

He says he was part of the team to open all three locations at Blue Diamond, North Las Vegas, and downtown.

“We were all there because we got these jobs, we made a family, we grew, we saw profit, the company was really good at some point. And then somewhere, somehow, money wasn’t being paid and then promises being broken, bridges being burned and then here we are today,” Grant said.

Court records show the downtown Las Vegas and North Las Vegas locations were shut down in the spring. The Blue Diamond location shut down more than a week ago.

“What breaks my heart the most is that we’re in the same boat. There is no captain to the ship. It’s a sinking one,” Derval said.

One agency that would not share information with the I-Team was the Nevada Department of Taxation’s marijuana enforcement division. A spokesman would not tell reveal the status of a license or give any information about any inspections. But the I-Team tracked down court documents which show that they suspended the registration and licenses for the North Las Vegas and downtown locations in the spring.

On Wednesday of last week, a receiver was appointed temporarily which means he will be in charge of trying to sort the business problems out.

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