PROVIDENCE — A former finance director of the Greenleaf medical marijuana dispensary in Portsmouth claims in a federal lawsuit he was fired after raising allegations his bosses were improperly taking money from the nonprofit business.
In his suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Jeffery Dieffenbach, 71, of Newport, says owners Seth Bock and Richard Radebach fired him in January claiming his work was unsatisfactory.
But Dieffenbach contends a rift developed between him and the two men, in part, because he raised issues with Radebach giving him and Bock bonuses of $200,000 or more last year, which he considered improper.
Further, Dieffenbach claims that during a federal audit between November 2018 and the summer of 2019 he was asked to “provide information to the IRS about the business that plaintiff did not believe was correct.”
Neither Bock or Radebach returned telephone messages left for them at the dispensary Tuesday. Bock did not return a voice message left on his cell phone. A retail clerk at the dispensary told The Journal employees had been told not to discuss the suit.
Dieffenbach says he worked for the dispensary for six years. His suit includes other allegations, including that he was illegally fired because of his age and a perceived disability.
Greenleaf is one of three medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island which state law says “shall be operated on a not-for-profit basis for the mutual benefit of its patients.”
But state law also allows dispensary owners to contract with management companies to essentially run their businesses, even renting out their equipment, real estate and workforce. Those management firms can direct profits back to dispensary owners and investors without running afoul of nonprofit provisions.
Dieffenbach alleges Radebach created a hostile work environment when he threatened him last year as Acreage Holdings — one of