Secret recording emerges in lawsuit over Warren's marijuana licensing process

Warren's mayor calls system 'flawed'

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

WARREN, Mich. - A secret recording was played in a Macomb County courtroom Friday in connection with the ongoing drama surrounding licensing marijuana facilities in Warren.

The recording was made by one of the investors in Pure Roots LLC, a well-financed marijuana group that wanted to spend $10 million and employ 100 people in Warren but did not get far in the process.

According to a lawsuit, the recording is of Warren City Councilman Ron Papandrea.

"The best I can do for you is when you sue, I'll tell the truth. That's the best I can do because that's my policy anyway, right? I'm not going to lie to the court, I'll tell them I was against it for political reasons. It had nothing to do with the value of your application."

Politics is precisely what is not supposed to be considered when making license decisions by Warren's own ordinance. The types of things that should be considered are financing, site plans, security plans and charitable donations to the community.

"It's truly disturbing that in this day and age, something like this could be going on," said attorney Chris Cataldo.

Cataldo is asking a judge to halt Warren's licensing process. This is just the latest lawsuit filed against the city alleging shenanigans in the process.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he's ready to veto license approvals because he's concerned about the process.

"It was a flawed system," Fouts said. "It was subjective, and it opens up to lawsuits, and the city cannot afford potentially 50 lawsuits."

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