Jennings, Brooks Ask Judge to Dismiss Pineau’s Civil Suit; Deny Marijuana Extortion Claims

(File photograph.)

The City of Haverhill has issued Caroline Pineau her special permit to sell marijuana at 124 Washington St., but that doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual. Earlier this month, Lloyd Jennings and J. Bradford Brooks, the businessmen opposing her shop Stem, petitioned a superior court judge to dismiss the civil suit alleging that they extorted and intimidated her for their own financial gain.

Brad Brooks. (WHAV News photograph)

The suit—backed by Boston attorneys Scott A. Schlager and Alvin S. Nathanson—includes depositions of Jennings and Brooks, as well as Pineau, offering new insight into the months’ long legal battle.

As WHAV exclusively reported, Pineau has faced scrutiny over Stem ever since Jennings and Brooks were joined by City Council hopeful and Mark’s Deli owner Stavros Dimakis to file a land court suit arguing that her shop was improperly zoned for the downtown business district. That suit was bounced back and forth from federal court in an unsuccessful effort to delay Pineau’s special permit hearing, which went on as scheduled June 18.

Schlager references Pineau’s civil suit in his new filing, which outlines the shop owner’s allegation that the duo allegedly demanded $75,000 from her as payment for the deck of her property. Fearing for her safety, Pineau had a conversation with Haverhill Police in early April, letting them know she worried Jennings would “burn down the deck” of Stem in his quest to “fight them every step of the way and slow down the opening of her business.”

Lloyd Jennings (WHAV News photograph)

According to Brooks, settlements were put on the table to get Brooks and Jennings to withdraw their opposition to Pineau’s shop—and did not involve the alleged extortion related to the deck, as Pineau described in her civil suit.

To support Schlager’s filing, Brooks and Jennings supplied written testimony that denied they ever extorted or threatened Pineau.

Jennings was pointed in his testimony when it came to reacting to Pineau’s claims about the deck. “I did not threaten to burn the deck in the back of 124 Washington St. or to burn anything else for that matter,” said Jennings, whose mother, Shirley, brothers Mickey and Michael, and sister Sherri died in a 1980 fire on Arlington Street set by convicted arsonist James Boone.

Summed up Jennings: “I am appalled that someone would even accuse me of something like that, especially given the pain and suffering that I had to endure losing nearly all of my family in a fire.”

In his response to Schlager’s motion to dismiss, Pineau’s attorney Thomas MacMillan said the claims were not the knee-jerk reaction Schlager makes them out to be.

Said MacMillan: “The claims in this action are based on threats and intimidation that occurred prior to the filing of their land court complaint. Pineau memorialized these threats by filing her complaint with the Haverhill Police Department months before they filed their land court complaint.”

MacMillan also touches on a recent interaction Jennings had with Haverhill Police when asking the judge to deny Schlager’s request.

“Jennings’ criminal history is well known and he uses his reputation to bolster his threats,” MacMillan wrote in his filing, referencing last fall’s arrest of Jennings at his home on Lancaster Street. He was charged with allegedly assaulting a Haverhill Police officer who responded to his home for a domestic incident, MacMillan said.

Both parties have requested hearings on the matter.

Stay with 97.9 WHAV FM for more on this developing story, as well as all things cannabis in the City of Haverhill. Next up is the special permit hearings for both proposed shops on Amesbury Road—Mellow Fellows and Haverwell Market. WHAV will have complete coverage on-air and online. Have a cannabis-related news tip to share? Reach out to us at [email protected]

Comments are closed.