Finalist for marijuana dispensary licenses also works for firm that graded applications – Chicago Sun-Times

An employee of the global accounting firm that was awarded a no-bid contract to grade applications for the state’s next round of pot shop licenses is also a partner in one of the 21 groups that secured a spot in the upcoming lottery to determine the winners.

Hamd Kamal works as a risk management consultant for KPMG, which is getting nearly $4.2 million through a no-bid contract with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency that oversees dispensaries. All told, more than 700 candidates submitted 1,667 total applications seeking upwards of 4,000 dispensary licenses.

Kamal is also listed as a manager of EHR Holdings LLC, an upstart pot firm that also counts former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard as a backer, according to records kept by the Illinois secretary of state’s office. EHR’s principal address is a Near West Side head shop that’s also run by Kamal.

Like the other 20 firms in the lottery, EHR earned perfect scores on the applications that represent its five chances in drawings in three of the 17 possible regions across the state.

The news that a KPMG employee is also part of a firm that’s secured five spots in the dispensary lottery comes as lawmakers and applicants continue to pepper Gov. J.B. Pritzker with concerns about the firm’s contract, methods and how the application process shook out.

KPMG spokesman James McGann said Kamal “is an employee but he was not part of the engagement team that scored the applications.” Kamal’s LinkedIn account stated last week that he’s a risk consultant at KPMG, though the reference to the firm has since been wiped from the page.

Kamal didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither did the governor’s office.

Since the final contenders for the highly sought after dispensary were

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