Jennings, Brooks, Dimakis Ask Court to Overturn Haverhill Council Stem Marijuana Special Permit Vote

Caroline Pineau poses outside her proposed Haverhill marijuana dispensary Stem at 124 Washington St. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

The trio behind the push to stop Caroline Pineau from opening her Washington Street marijuana shop Stem has again filed suit, appealing a special permit, WHAV has confirmed.

Lloyd Jennings (WHAV News)

In a Land Court filing dated Sept. 27, J. Bradford Brooks, Lloyd Jennings and Stavros Dimakis filed suit through Attorney Scott A. Schlager against Pineau and her business Stem, along with the City of Haverhill appealing the Sept. 10 decision made by the City Council to let her open for business at 124 Washington St. The suit also names all nine city councilors—including Michael S. McGonagle, in error. McGonagle has abstained from marijuana-related Council matters giving his status as the landlord for the building Mellow Fellows intend to move into on Amesbury Road.

The trio’s latest filing argues that in granting Stem’s special permit, the Haverhill City Council “acted arbitrarily, capriciously and in excess of its authority” for a variety of reasons. Chief among them, says Schlager in his clients’ filing, is that the Council granted the permit despite finding that it “would result in retail LMEs that exceed 20 percent of the number of package and liquor stores in the City.”

When the Council affirmed its decision Sept. 10, a possible typo was introduced. In all previous documentation surrounding the City’s retail marijuana licensing, Haverhill would have no more than six shops and as an economic empowerment applicant, Pineau has priority status to open her shop first.

Brad Brooks. (WHAV News photograph)

The trio’s suit also claims that the City failed to make “requisite findings or delve into specific requirements” related to Stem’s odor mitigation plan, Schlager said.

Finally, the trio brings up zoning in their latest case when they argue that Pineau’s permit was issued without regard to requirements related to a downtown smart growth overlay district. It is unclear whether the downtown smart growth overlay district even applies in this case, because Stem applied for a permit within a retail marijuana overlay district.

As Jennings and Brooks file their latest documents in Land Court, Pineau continues to move forward with her civil suit against the duo alleging they extorted and intimidated her for their own financial gain. In June, Pineau filed court papers that claimed 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.”

Both Brooks and Jennings have denied they ever extorted or threatened Pineau.

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