Partners sue over alleged exclusion from Glenville hemp farm project

A hemp field grows at SUNY Cobleskill in August 2019.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A hemp field grows at SUNY Cobleskill in August 2019.

SCHENECTADY — Two partners are suing several other entities over a deal to operate a hemp farm in western Glenville.

Matthew Dill and Timothy Lorito of New York sued Victor Canales and Antonio Andrade of Florida; Kenneth Roy Jr. of New York and his Royal Development LLC; Glenville Farm Property LLC; and VCAA LLC on Thursday in state Supreme Court, Schenectady County.

Dill and Lorito allege the defendants stole their labor and a land purchase contract for property at 3953 Touareuna Road, where they had envisioned creating a hemp farm for purposes of extracting cannabidiol from the plants for processing into CBD products, which are enjoying popularity for therapeutic purposes.

The 27-acre site is zoned rural residential and farming operations are allowed there.

Reached by phone Friday, Roy had no comment.

Dill, Lorito and a third plaintiff sued Canales and VCAA in federal court in Oregon in April 2020, saying that Canales didn’t follow through on or mismanaged a deal involving their hemp-growing operation in Scio, Oregon.

A judge granted the defendants’ motion and dismissed the fraud allegations of that claim on Tuesday, two days before court papers were filed in Schenectady on the Glenville matter. Other aspects of the claim remain before the Oregon court.

In the Glenville case, Dill’s and Lorito’s attorney states and alleges in court papers that:

  • Dill and Lorito have been partners in hemp cultivation, nightclubs and multiple other businesses for nearly 20 years. They found the plot of land in Glenville and negotiated its purchase.
  • Canales has acted as a promoter for their nightclubs for more than 15 years and became involved in hemp cultivation with them. He offered to become 50-50 partners with them through VCAA by paying off the seller’s note and allowing Dill and Lorito to pay it back over time, while they in turn assigned their rights to the land sale contract and provided labor and consulting services.
  • Instead, Canales and VCAA sold Dill’s and Lorito’s shares to Roy and Royal Development and squeezed the two plaintiffs out of the deal, effectively stealing all the labor they’d invested.
  • Canales continued to represent in writing that Dill and Lorito could still pay $500,000 to secure their 50% share in the Glenville farm, even after selling that share to Roy.

Dill and Lorito seek:

  • An accounting from the defendants of all the monies taken, utilized and spent in this matter;
  • A judicial declaration that they are 50% owners of Glenville Farm Property LLC and the property itself;
  • A judicial declaration that Roy and Andrade hold no interest in the Glenville Farm Property LLC or the property itself;
  • Compensatory damages of $2 million compounded by daily interest rate of 9%;
  • Consequential damages in an amount to be determined at trial;
  • Award of cost of court and attorney fees.

Correction 4/6 1:55 p.m.: A previous version of this story indicated the Oregon claim was dismissed in its entirety. Only the fraud portion of the claim was dismissed.

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