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Company trying to have Charlestown cannabis market to itself used e-mail to plot possible ouster of competitor - one guess what happened next

The Charlestown Patriot-Bridge reports somebody involved with Resilient Remedies's bid for a cannabis shop in Charlestown included the Boston Cannabis Board on an e-mail exchange that centered on ways to keep Nike John's competing cannabis shop out of the Town, including making the argument that the Black woman from Dorchester isn't really minority enough to warrant the special "equity" treatment state law allows for applicants harmed by the war on drugs.

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Let's be a bit more honest here. I read the article and it seems there is no dispute as to whether she is a minority, but rather whether she meets a sufficient number of the City's own criteria to be considered an "Equity Applicant," which is very different from being a minority. Deval Patrick, for example, is a minority but probably shouldn't be considered as an Equity Applicant.

And frankly, there is some stuff cited in the article which doesn't add up:

The Mayor’s Office said Attorney White was provided with residential leases on Gainsborough Street in the Fenway from Sept. 2013 to Aug. 2015. She also provided them with a lease from a Quincy apartment from Dec. 2014 to June 2018. She also provided them with utility bill statements that matched those addresses for that time period where she held a lease.

“Altogether, Ms. John resided in areas of disproportionate impact for approximately 63.5 months – which is in excess of the mandatory 60 month period,” read the statement from the Mayor’s Office.

She's got 63.5 months of leases in the Fenway and Quincy, but those leases overlap. Taking out the overlap, she can show residency in areas of disproportionate impact for at most 58 months (Sept. 2013 to June 2018), which would not qualify as five years. If overlapping leases are permitted, anyone could lease ten properties in Roxbury for six months and meet the residency requirement.

If she has a driver's license with a Beacon Hill address and she votes there as well (and was doing so when she claimed residency in Quincy and/or the Fenway) then one should indeed question that residency.

The whole point of the Equity Applicant tests is indeed to set a higher bar for that treatment than simply being a minority.

Voting closed 304

White people must understand things like Affirmative Action has to apply to black doing well for themselves.

The injustices, enslavements, and wrongs that were done to their families still happened and need to be affirmed.

It doesn't matter if Deval Patrick is doing well for himself-how much better would he be doing if he weren't black? That's not for you to determine how much success a black person has before they no longer get to benefit from Affirmative Action-that's paternalistic and not how that works.

Deval absolutely should be an equity applicant if he wanted to be one.

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Drivers licenses are good for like five years? Mine has an old Somerville address (changing it when it expires this year finally). People in Boston move all the time.

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Although, the part about the ex- Boston election commissioner contacting former peers to dig up info to take down a business rival is deeply shady. Do folks really think that if you or I emailed city/town clerks in the area they would just give us some random citizen's information like this? (I am aware that much of this is public record, but do you think we would receive that kind of on-demand service?) This is the definition of corruption.

Voting closed 168

As you acknowledge, it's all public record, and the reason you hire ex-public officials is because they do have personal relationships with people who can facilitate things exactly like this. It's no more shady than ex-legislators or legislative staff, at the state or local level, becoming lobbyists after leaving public service.

I mean, honestly, some of this stuff should have been dug up by the Boston Cannabis Board as part of normal due diligence on the application. They could run a background check on all applicants (the same kind that an auto insurer or landlord might) to make sure that the addresses they get back match up with what's on the application, and to ensure that there aren't any items found which might be disqualifying.

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It's all various shades of shady to me, but I still see a difference between leveraging your connections in some vague networking way vs. using your influence to have public employees complete special tasks for you in service of taking down a business rival. There are Massachusetts regulations that concern this kind of corruption.

Voting closed 216

Are you?

None of this runs afoul for Lo because none of it involves decisions or official actions she would have undertaken while working for the city. It's not illegal for her to leverage professional connections as long as there's no exchange of money or other consideration. Did they get the information they wanted faster than other people could have? Almost certainly. But none of it was information they weren't allowed to have.

Voting closed 223

"It's not illegal" is of course all one needs in court, but out here in the real world it's one of the weakest defenses. Dishonesty and unethical behavior of all sorts is often not illegal, but it's still those other things. Corruption isn't only bad when it crosses a legal line.

So yes, nobody involved is going to go to prison. It's still slimy and that's not something I want rewarded by the government.

Voting closed 244

This is called good business practice - researching your competitor and disqualifying the opponent if possible. The unfortunate thing is that the opponents inadvertently got the heads up though it seems R2 has consistently raised the same issues since day 1.
Making it anything different is misleading.
Good luck to them both. Hope they can find a way to be competitors which is good for yhe consumer.

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I've never commented here publicly, but as the first commenter pointed out, no one is saying that the competitor "wasn't minority enough." The attorney was simply questioning her equity status based on residency. Nothing in the exchange was racist. It was strategic, and it also looked like it was posing a legitimate challenge to a board which might have been demonstrating favoritism to a particular applicant, something the public has a right to know about.

Of course, this was an embarrassing mistake for the attorney and the company. But to imply that the company was arguing that "the Black woman from Dorchester isn't really minority enough" overlooks the fact that residency in a given place for at least five out of ten years was a requirement that she may not have met.

People should be allowed to make legal arguments about equity status if the law gives them room to do so without being labeled racist or being considered impliedly racist.

Voting closed 181