ABRAHAM EISNER AND THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESS… Let’s forget about his Mortgage Fraud Cases
Cuomo’s backer, Abraham Eisner, is no center to controversy. In 2012 he singed off on a settlement for $3.5Million after “federal prosecutors alleged that the company had charged higher interest rates and fees on mortgages to minority borrowers than whites with similar profiles. The company denied discrimination.”
Rational minds would think that Governor Cuomo would want to keep his distance from a person with that background. Quite the opposite. Eisner and Cuomo seem to have gravitated toward one another and an Eisner contribution to Cuomo may buy him more than a few “dime bags.”
Eisner wants into the medical marijuana business. It would appear that Governor Cuomo is in for helping him to do just that.
Cuomo liaison quietly pushes marijuana bid
Cuomo backer says he is confident he will win state license
…Now, on the heels of the legal setback, Eisner has entered the state’s blossoming medical marijuana business, emails show.
The state is expected in the coming days to issue five licenses among 43 total applicants. Eisner has been working on behalf of a company formed in March, New York Medical Growers, that is registered to the law firm of a Brooklyn attorney, Joseph Klein.
It’s not entirely clear what Eisner’s role is in the company. Eisner hung up whenreached by the Times Union on his cell phone. Klein referred questions to an Albany lobbying firm working for the company, Hill and Gosdeck, which did not return request for comment.
Despite Eisner’s legal troubles, Cuomo and Eisner remain on good terms. Eisner toured Israel with Cuomo on his solidarity trip to the country in August. And the New York Times described Eisner last year as Cuomo’s “unofficial consultant” to the Jewish community. Eisner gave Cuomo a $10,000 campaign contribution last November, campaign finance records show.
During Cuomo’s 2010 campaign for governor, The Jewish Daily Forward profiled Eisner’s relationship with Cuomo, and noted that the “ultra-Orthodox fixer appears to have accompanied New York gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo on all four of his early October visits to Brooklyn’s Hasidic rebbes.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Health did not return a request for comment concerning whether Eisner had been in touch with the department about the bidding.
Emails provided to the Times Union show Eisner, on behalf of New York Medical Growers, has in recent days been courting an Israeli marijuana supplier called Tikun Olam Medical Cannabis, the largest producer of medical marijuana in a country on the forefront of the world’s cannabis industry. Having such a supplier could be a major bonus in the competition for the five licenses.
Eisner has been in frequent contact over email with Tikun Olam despite the fact that the company has publicly announced that it has an exclusive agreement to supply a rival bidder, Compassionate Care Center of New York.
Tikun Olam’s CEO, Aharon Lutzky, told the Times Union that Eisner had approached the company about working as the supplier to New York Medical Growers, but the Israeli supplier was already exclusively working with Compassionate Care Center, a biopharmaceutical company.
Still, Eisner has continued contacting Lutzky, subsequently helping set up a meeting for Tikun Olam with a top Israeli official, emails show.
Eisner said in a June 21 email to Lutzky that “after we get” our marijuana license in New York, he looked forward to touring Tikun Olam’s facility in Israel with “other members of our team.”
Lutzky, however, told the Times Union the exclusive agreement with Compassionate Care Center would remain intact regardless of the outcome of New York’s bidding process.
All of the 43 bidders had to submit a $10,000 nonrefundable application fee, and a $200,000 registration fee that will be returned to those that don’t end up winning. Medical marijuana is expected to become available in January.