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US (CA): Master grower filed lawsuit alleging missing payment

The thing to know about a civil lawsuit is that the facts as they are written are allegations; they have yet to be proved. An employment claim may be a case in point, brought against Ed St. George, the well-known Santa Barbara developer turned unpopular political pundit — he recently advised a pregnant council candidate to take a break.

William “Nate” Bree, a master cannabis grower and cultivator from Sacramento, filed suit against St. George in June, claiming he was brought to Santa Barbara to improve a cannabis operation at 5295 Shoreline Drive, not far from More Mesa, in September 2017. By May 2018, he’d quit. His brother, Aaron, had quit six months earlier in disgust.

He and Aaron had worked 12-hour days, Bree contends, to turn 7,500 square feet of moldy greenhouses into 22,000 square feet of cannabis grow on a property that sits alongside West Covina Nurseries and the ocean-front homes along Orchid Drive. Bree had even contributed some of his own stock. However, instead of the 20 percent of profits Bree expected to receive, St. George would not open his books to him, instead giving Bree an “advance” of $50,000 for all his labor. He’d also let Bree live in an apartment on Camino del Sur for free.

Things went sour when Bree objected to what he contends were black market sales of cannabis and the hiring of undocumented workers and a felon. Because he refused to go along “quietly,” the complaint reads, St. George “discharged” Bree in July 2018, locked him out of his apartment, took all his stuff, and wouldn’t let him onto the greenhouse property.


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