ADSI: Long Beach Ca. Medical Cannabis Lawsuits Discomforting Resemblance to McClure V. Long Beach Settlement

Jul 03, 2012, 06:00 ET from Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2006, the City of Long Beach, CA had to payout its largest settlement in the city's history, $22.5 Million dollars with an added 4 million in outside legal fees were awarded to Shirley McClure. Ms. McClure had alleged that city officials had conspired against her from opening a small chain of Alzheimer's hospices in the memory of her late father. The conspirators were the then current City Hall Planning & Building Director (Eugene Zeller) and 2 city councilmen (Ray Grabinski and Jeff Kellogg). The 3 had been found to have misused their offices by inappropriately demanding Ms. McClure be held to an unattainable standard by the building dept. inspectors. Those inspectors had logged over 100 man-hours in the first week of her lengthy and arduous harassment. Neighbors near the hospice sites were recommended to call the police for any petty incidence. The Long Beach Fire & Gas Depts. admittedly acknowledge that they were instructed by the Building Dept. to discriminate against the McClure hospices.

In 2012, there are now more than a dozen cases and counting against the City of Long Beach alleging discriminatory behavior through a concerted effort from certain City Government officials in various departments. At the top of the list is the Business Relations Office that is in charge of handing out permits through out the city. It was through this office headed by a one Mr. Erik Sund, the Business Relations Director, that medical cannabis was to be regulated by a city ordinance drafted in 2010 by the City Attorneys Office. In Oct. of 2011 The California Second District Court of Appeals struck down the ordinance as being Federally Pre-empted and illegal. Since that time Mr. Sund has taken it upon himself to attempt to close down the distribution of medical cannabis in the City of Long Beach for patients that are truly sick and disabled, often accompanying the police department on raids. It has been alleged that Mr. Sund had instructed city employees to not pass any business associated with a collective that is trying to have their building up to code, no matter if the applicant passed inspection or not. Mr. Sund has over the past year taken to personally calling and harassing the landlords of buildings that rent to collectives and threatening them with civil citations, which since then have been issued. The business relations director has stepped up his actions by threatening several landlords with liens on their properties and threats against any other businesses they may have. In one instance he had threatened to the pull the permit of a long time established pastry shop because the landlord had also rented to a collective. Another interested party stated Mr. Sund had told me that he is going after the innocent landlords because, "We get more clout that way."

Over the past year, Mr. Sund has been tirelessly calling one landlords attorney in particular, Dr. John Mitchell, a ninety-year-old children's doctor whose medical practice originated in Long Beach and grew into an outside wing of Saint Mary's Hospital. Dr. Mitchell had become a pillar of his community through his medical practice and through his devotion to the city where his medical practice had flourished. Some years ago Dr. Mitchell suffered from a stroke and since that time has retired and moved his life to a more quite and comfortable surrounding. Mr. Sund is now threatening to revoke Dr. Mitchell's "commercial business license", and prevent him from renting his property for a year and stated that Dr. Mitchell would then be guilty of a misdemeanor.  The misdemeanor charge is certainly a threat of potential incarceration. Sund has issued or caused to be issued fines in the amount of $500.00 a day and continues to do so. Despite the fact that Dr. Mitchell is still awaiting a court date in an action that should resolve the matter. Mitchell's attorney Richard Brakefield had stated, "Dr. Mitchell's health is not well and he suffers from a serious heart ailment. This situation is very stressful for him. In my layman's opinion, that is dangerous and another heart attack could be fatal." Prominent Newport Beach attorney Lee Durst is quoted as saying, "I take these harassments as actual attacks on Dr. Mitchell's life."

Mr. Sund and the office of Business Relations is but the current facade of the infrastructure that perpetuated the McClure settlement and has now started this city of tax paying citizens down a path of financial bankruptcy.

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SOURCE Advocates for the Disabled and Seriously Ill