MedMen CEO Adam Bierman is stepping down from the company and surrendering all of his Class A super voting shares. This move is effective Feb. 1.
Bierman will remain on the company's board of directors, which is now responsible for identifying and appointing a new CEO. MedMen COO Ryan Lissack will step in as interim CEO for now.
Last month, MedMen co-founder Andrew Modlin announced that he had handed over all of his super voting shares to the company’s Executive Chairman, Ben Rose, until December 2020.
“The board supports both Adam’s decision to step aside for a new CEO to lead the company, and his and Andrew’s decision to surrender their voting rights to give all shareholders a stronger voice. This evolution will provide Adam the space to contribute to the future of MedMen and extend his commitment to the industry that he has helped pioneer,” Rose said in a public statement.
The news follows a series of layoffs at the company in California and recent court filings that have shed light on internal financial matters. Investors have sued the company in state court, alleging breach of fiduciary duty. Part of the lawsuit described a complicated internal structure that vested nearly all voting power within the company in the hands of Bierman and Modlin, effectively silencing any investors' voices. That corporate power was conveyed in Bierman and Modlin's super voting shares.
"As a result of the surrender of the super voting shares, by the end of 2020, MedMen will have only one class of outstanding shares, the Class B subordinate voting shares, each of which entitle the holder to one vote," according to the company.
Second quarter financial results (for the company's fiscal 2020) are due out Feb. 26.
A Seeking Alpha report from earlier this week paints a grim picture of long-term debt and negative cash flow. Throughout the past year, investors and industry observers have pointed to MedMen's all-stock acquisition spree as a sign of trouble. And with no voice granted to the company's legions of investors, Bierman's corporate moves were never given space for debate or pushback.
Looking back at the investors' lawsuit, one line stands out: “This dynamic—Bierman agreeing with Bierman to pay Bierman for things Bierman agreed with Bierman to do because they were good for Bierman, while being terrible for shareholders and for the entities Bierman decided should pay him—permeates the entire MedMen enterprise.”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit against two apparent business owners, Guy Scott Griffithe of California and Robert William Russell of Washington, both of whom stand accused of running a pyramid scheme on at least 25 investors across more than two years. All told, the pair raked in $4.85 million to support a licensed Washington cannabis business that, somehow, never existed in the first place.
According to the SEC’s Jan. 21 complaint, hatched a plan in 2013 to raise funds for a cannabis business in Washington’s soon-to-be legal adult-use cannabis market. By August 2015, they had secured a license for a company called SMRB (doing business as Green Acre Pharms). “Investors were told that their investment capital would be used to operate and improve SMRB’s cannabis business and that SMRB’s resulting profits would be distributed to them quarterly in proportion to the equity they purchased,” the SEC complaint states. “[Griffithe and Russell] sold securities interests to investors that were fictitious and essentially worthless. The investors did not actually acquire any bona fide ownership stake in SMRB.”
Read the full civil complaint below.
Over the period from August 2015 to December 2017, Griffithe routinely placated investors with email updates and in-person meetings. Occasionally, the two defendants would set up tours of the Green Acre Pharms facility in Anacortes, Wash., pointing out “obsolete or surplus equipment and fixtures that [Russell] falsely said were going to be installed when he received money from their investors.”
All along, though, the money was going into Griffithe and Russell’s pockets. Reported personal purchases include: a 2008 Bentley Continental, a 2012 Mercedez Benz C Class, a 2013 Ford Mustang, a 2015 Porsche Panamera, a $250,000 payment toward a 65-ft. Pacific Mariner yacht and a $25,000 payment toward a 42-ft. Hydrasport custom power boat.
To continue the ruse, Griffithe cut checks to his investors from his own bank account—“just money that I’ve come up with in closing other deals,” he told Russell. More often than not, this was money “obtained from selling SMRB securities to investors” in the first place, according to the complaint.
"As alleged in our complaint, Griffithe and Russell exploited popular interest in the cannabis industry to obtain millions of dollars from investors who thought they were buying into a profitable business," SEC Associate Director Melissa R. Hodgman, said in a public statement. "Instead, Griffithe and Russell deceived investors and used the money to enrich themselves."
In late 2018, the SEC issued a warning about investment fraud and the rising interest in the “hot” cannabis industry. “If someone promises you a guaranteed high rate of return on your investment, especially along with a claim of no risk, it likely is a fraudulent scheme,” according to the commission.
At one point in Griffithe and Russell’s scheme, in November 2017, Griffithe wrote in an email update to investors: “We are working with a 40% profit margin about (sic) acquisition, packaging and distribution to the retailers. This along with the flower will move us into the gross revenue range of 1.3-1.4M per month with profits at 40-42%. WE ARE HERE!!!!!!”
SEC v. Griffithe et al. by sandydocs on Scribd
MedMen 首席执行官 AdamBierman 将从公司离职，并放弃所有 A 类超级投票权股票。这一举措于2月1日生效。
比尔曼将继续留在公司的董事会，现在负责确定和任命新的首席执行官。MedMen 首席运营官 RyanLissack 目前将担任临时首席执行官。
上月， MedMen 的联合创始人安德鲁•莫德林( Andrew Modlin )宣布，他已将其拥有超级投票权的股份全部移交给公司执行主席本•罗斯( Ben Rose )，直至2020年12月。
“董事会既支持亚当决定辞去新首席执行官的职务，也支持他和安德鲁决定放弃投票权，让所有股东拥有更强大的话语权。罗斯在一份公开声明中表示：“这种演变将为亚当提供空间，为 MedMen 的未来做出贡献，并将他对这个行业的承诺延伸到他帮助开拓的行业。”
“由于交出了超级投票权的股份，到2020年底， MedMen 公司将只有一类流通股， B 类次级投票权股份，每一类都赋予持有人一票表决权，”该公司表示。
本周早些时候， Seek Alpha 发布的一份报告描绘了长期债务和负现金流的严峻局面。在过去的一年里，投资者和行业观察人士指出， MedMen 的全股票收购狂潮是一个麻烦的迹象。由于公司的投资者没有发言权， Bierman 的公司行动从来没有被给予辩论或推诿的空间。
回过头来看投资者的诉讼，有一句话是站得住脚的：“这种动态—— Bierman 同意为 Bierman 同意的事情向 Bierman 付款，因为 Bierman 有利于 Bierman ，同时对股东和 Bierman 决定应向他付款的实体感到可怕——贯穿整个 MedMen 企业。”
美国证券交易委员会( SEC )已对加州的盖伊·斯科特·格里菲亚( Guy Scott Griffi )和华盛顿的罗伯特·威廉·拉塞尔( Robert William Russell )两位表面上的企业主提起诉讼，两人都被指控在两年多的时间里对至少25名投资者实施金字塔计划。他们总共赚了485万美元来支持华盛顿一家有执照的大麻公司，不知怎么说，这两家公司从一开始就从未存在过。
根据 SEC 1月21日的投诉，2013年制定了一项计划，为华盛顿即将合法的成人大麻市场的大麻业务筹集资金。到2015年8月，他们已经获得了一家名为 SMRB 的公司的许可证（从事绿色 Acre Pharms 业务）。“投资者被告知，他们的投资资本将被用来经营和改善 SMRB 的大麻业务， SMRB 由此产生的利润将按照他们购买的股权比例每季度分配给他们，” SEC 投诉称。“（格里菲娅和罗素）向投资者出售证券权益，这些投资者是虚构的，基本上毫无价值。投资者实际上并没有获得 SMRB 的任何真正所有权。”
2015年8月至2017年12月期间， Griffic 定期向投资者发出电子邮件更新和现场会议通知。偶尔，两名被告将在华盛顿州阿纳科茨（ Anacortes ）的 Green Acre Pharms 设施进行参观。他指出，“罗素在从投资者那里获得资金时，错误地说将安装过时或过剩的设备和固定装置。”
不过，所有这些钱都流入了格里菲亚和罗素的口袋。据报道，个人购买包括：2008年宾利大陆，2012年 Mercedez 奔驰 C 级，2013年福特野马，2015年保时捷 Panamera ，250，000美元支付65英尺。太平洋水手游艇和25,000美元的付款，以42英尺。海德堡定制动力船。
为了延续这种诡计，格里菲特从自己的银行账户中削减了对他的投资者的支票——“就像我在完成其他交易时拿出的钱一样，”他对罗素说。起诉书称，最常见的情况是，“向投资者出售 SMRB 证券所得”资金。
SEC 副主任 Melissa R . Hodgman 在一份公开声明中说：“正如我们在投诉中所指控的， Griffi 和 Russell 利用公众对大麻产业的兴趣，从那些认为他们购买了有利可图的业务的投资者那里获得了数百万美元。”相反，格里菲娅和罗素欺骗了投资者，并用这些钱来充实自己。这是一个很好的例子
2018年末， SEC 发布了关于投资欺诈和对“热”大麻行业兴趣上升的警告。“如果有人向你保证你的投资有很高的回报率，尤其是在声称没有风险的情况下，这很可能是一个欺诈计划，”该委员会表示。
在 Griffia 和 Russell 计划的某一时刻， Griffie 在2017年11月向投资者发送的一封电子邮件更新中写道：“我们正在为（ sic ）收购、包装和分销给零售商提供40%的利润率。连同鲜花，我们每月的总收入将达到1.3-1.4百万美元，利润将达到40-42%。我们在这里！！！！！！“这是一个很好的选择。”
SEC 诉 Griffithen 等人。在 Scribd 上的