Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation title=
Santa Barbara Police Station (Photo credit: SBPD)
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[Disclaimer as of 2/28/22: At the request of LA Magazine, their articles have been retracted and any associated links have been removed. For further information read our latest update here. The original article is available in its entirety below.]

Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

Chief Melekian is releasing the report of an Independent Investigation conducted by the Sintra Group in response to the allegations raised by an article published by LA Magazine on March 12th. The investigation focused on whether a City employee, Anthony Wagner, had a conflict of interest with a commercial cannabis storefront applicant, GSG SBCA, Inc. dba Golden State Greens, while serving as a member of the City’s Cannabis Application Review Team.   In addition, the investigation also examined whether Golden State Greens received any preferential treatment in the application process. 
Investigators Chuck Hookstra and Robert Velasquez concluded that Mr. Wagner did not have a conflict of interest with Golden State Greens nor did Golden State Greens receive any preferential treatment as they initially finished fourth in the application process.  Only the top three applicants received a license to operate a dispensary in Santa Barbara. Golden State Greens eventually received a license, but only when one of the top three finishers was disqualified because their location was within 1000 feet from a higher-ranking applicant.  Santa Barbara Municipal Code Section 9.44.280 (A) requires dispensaries to be at least 1000 feet from one another.
Mr. Wagner was fully cooperative during this investigation.

[The full report is provided below under "Related Document"]


 March 14, 2021: Investigative Journalist Hints at Santa Barbara City Corruption

 March 15, 2021: Deciphering the Bombshell LA Magazine Piece that Just Hit City Hall

 March 15, 2021: Santa Barbara City Employee Placed on Administrative Leave Following Article

 March 17, 2021: Lots of Innuendo but Little Substance in Los Angeles Magazine Article

 March 18, 2021: Santa Barbara Officials Respond to Claims in LA Magazine Article

 March 22, 2021: Santa Barbara Police Department Hires Firm to Investigate Employee

 March 24, 2021: Los Angeles Magazine Issues Retraction for Cannabis Corruption Article

 March 29, 2021: Op-Ed: Journalist Corrects the Record on LA Magazine Article

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Steve Chitren May 14, 2021 10:58 AM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Slow news day. Move and slpf one. This story has fork in it, other than whether AW sues for defamation. I'm not a fan of prop 64 but all yalls better thank the local governments around here (AW included) for figuring out a way to load up the revenue coffers. Ya, 'we built that.' Ain't that the sayin?

a-1621011418 May 14, 2021 09:56 AM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Really a sophomoric composition. As a high school class essay a C+ at best. The bias is evident by the editorial highlighting of stuff that the author believes helps Wagner's case. It ignores or diminishes the obvious conflicts. But at this point there is no smoking gun, no clear proof of a quid pro quo. Just a strong suspicion that Wagner treated friends favorably and did not act impartially. In fact it appears from his job history that that is his only "talent." A serious investigation by impartial actors needs to be taken--Sintra is clearly pro-cop and that is why it was selected for this (and other coverup work).

a-1621008665 May 14, 2021 09:11 AM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Read the attached "investigative report" and its a load of crap. They interviewed a few people who said he did nothing wrong, including wagner himself, so that means he didn't do anything wrong? Where's the actual investigation???

PitMix May 14, 2021 08:28 AM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Chief Luhnow brought him to take an existing cop position, why didn't she take him when she decided to stay in San Diego fulltime instead of being there 3 days a week? Those top positions are usually at-will so it is not that hard to get rid of them, in theory.

Randy Parks May 13, 2021 09:51 PM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Hogwash. baloney, malarkey, as as their top leader would say, "come on man..."
Sintra Group owner: Steve Bowman spent nearly 28 years with the Ventura Police Department, retiring as Assistant Police Chief.

NotReallyDave May 13, 2021 07:29 PM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Like the Judge asked the City Attorney, " How should I rule on this?". All government employees are team players riding on the team bus. When one player gets into trouble, the team "coach" says to stay on the bus and do not talk to anyone. A team member must be true to the team, right? And a team must be paid well, right?

Byzantium May 13, 2021 05:54 PM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

When one of the officially chosen top three candidates dropped out after the close of the selection process, it should not have gone by default automatically down to number four. The process should have re-opened for an entirely new competition. Why didn't the selection committee know there was a "distance" problem "before they selected the top three finalists? Or were they already content with number four moving immediately into the top tier three finalist, due to their obvious measurement mistake. Time for a do-over. And no automatic transfers this time. Use it or lose it. Who exactly championed the no-fault transfer provision in the original city licensing guidelines?

monkeyboy May 13, 2021 05:35 PM
Results Released in Alleged Cannabis Corruption Investigation

Not guilty...blow me over with a feather. The guy is still a jerk, still taking a salary to do nothing, still accused of abusing immigrant business owners and still so incompetent, even our incompetent mayor wants nothing to do with him.

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