Three lawsuits allege a cannabis entrepreneur defrauded investors by failing to pay back $1.2 million in loans.
Solace Holdings LLLP, Aether Gardens and Telloni Holdings Limited filed the lawsuits against entrepreneur Case Mandel and his companies Cannadips LLC and Trinidad Consulting LLC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and state courts in Nevada and California.
The lawsuits allege that Telloni provided Mandel and Trinidad a loan of $500,000 in July 2018 and, in early 2019, increased the loan amount to Mandel and his businesses to $1 million. Then, around July 2019, the plaintiffs offered the defendants a “Bridge Loan” of $200,000.
“Under the terms of the Bridge Loan, the parties agreed that the $200,000.00 would be paid-back-in-full after three months with all accrued and unpaid interest,” the lawsuit filed in California reads.
Paul D. Turner, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the borrowed money with interest was due in October 2019, but his side didn’t file its first lawsuit until February 2020.
“We were trying to explore a possibility of figuring out what had gone so horribly wrong [before we filed the lawsuit]. Is there a fix, can we get paid, can we protect this multimillion-dollar investment? We went into that phase,” Turner said. “Obviously, we filed not one, not two, but three lawsuits under various contracts because we came to the conclusion that this investment could just fall apart, and we would be left holding a bag with nothing in it.”
Trinidad and Cannadips first entered into an agreement with Solace around May 2018, according to court records. The deal allowed Solace, a Nevada-based cultivator and producer, to manufacture and distribute Cannadips, a dip product containing cannabidiol (CBD), throughout Nevada, Turner said.
But the two sides make starkly different claims on if the plaintiffs owed the defendants royalties from sales, according to court records.
According to a motion filed by the defense on April 1 in federal court, the defense claims that, “In exchange for receiving these valuable licensing rights [to produce and sell CBD and THC products], Solace was contractually obligated – among other things – to provide Defendants with a monthly royalty report and pay royalties in accordance with the Agreement’s terms.”
In responding to this to Cannabis Dispensary, Turner said, “There's no obligation to do that under the contract. It was cash for cash, not some kind of convoluted offset theory.”
On April 1, the defense filed “to dismiss or stay the case pending mediation,” according to the federal court docket.
For his part, Mandel declined CD’s request for an on-the-record phone interview but provided the site with the following statement: “This is a matter in litigation and we are more than confident in our position. We intend to try the case in court and not throughout the media. There was never any fraudulent conduct. Their efforts to portray me as some sort of conman are unfounded and there is absolutely no evidence to support such a claim. At this time, any statement beyond this would be unproductive. We are hoping that we can bring this to a fair conclusion in a professional and ethical way. The truth will speak for itself.”