Top Republicans in Oregon have demanded that Governor Tina Kotek include WW’s findings about La Mota, the state’s second-largest cannabis dispensary chain, in an independent investigation of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. La Mota has been the subject of numerous lawsuits and tax liens from the federal and state governments.
After it was discovered that high-ranking OLCC officials had set aside rare whiskey bottles for personal use, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum launched a criminal inquiry into the agency. Rosenblum’s husband is a partner in the firm that owns WW, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and House Minority Leader Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) have led the charge since February to have Kotek engage an outside investigator to look into the OLCC.
They have now revived their call for a probe into agency handling of La Mota, asking that it be expanded to see if the chain was given preferential treatment.
Legislators wrote to Kotek, “On multiple occasions, you have committed to increasing accountability and oversight in state government.” To paraphrase a recent Oregon lawmaker: “In the spirit of government transparency, working Oregonians deserve assurance they can trust their legislature and state agencies. Consistent with our shared goals of accountability and transparency, we ask that you take immediate action.”
La Mota’s founding couple, Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, and the companies they control have been hit with millions of dollars in state and federal tax liens, and more than two dozen lawsuits in Oregon circuit courts, many of which allege unpaid bills, yet the OLCC has continued to renew the chain’s licenses every year.
Cazares and Mitchell, who relocated to Oregon from Florida in 2009, gave over $200,000 to prominent Democrats such as Governor Kotek, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, and current U.S. Representative Val Hoyle (D-Oregon).
Intimate fundraisers for Kotek and Fagan were held at a Northwest Hills house. A pickleball fundraiser for Kotek, in which Mitchell and the soon-to-be governor were a team, and a black-tie gala for Kotek was co-hosted in October. The La Mota scandal has expanded to include other government departments.
Click Here for the Most Recent Updates on This Exciting News Story!
- Southern Oregon Timber Industry Gets a Boost with Roseburg Forest Products Investment.
- Oregon Takes on Climate Change: $4M Grant to Address Pollution and Emissions
Cazares’s organization, which he helped form in the autumn, lost a $554,000 grant from the Bureau of Labor & Industries last week. After WW’s probe into La Mota and its owners was made public, the agency formally revoked the grant the next day.
Perhaps most concerning, according to Knopp and Breese-Iverson, is that “La Mota’s co-founded nonprofit received a half-million-dollar grant from the state of Oregon” that was “mysteriously and abruptly terminated” the day after the article emerged. A more in-depth inquiry into these acts is warranted.
( Source Link )