Secretary of state reviewing Sisolak donation allegations

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak responds to a question during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Sisolak ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak responds to a question during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Sisolak ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

LAS VEGAS — The Nevada secretary of state's office is reviewing allegations made by a former executive of the cannabis company MedMen Enterprises Inc., that the company's co-founders made illegal campaign donations to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

The allegations made by former MedMen Chief Financial Officer James Parker were made in a January 2019 lawsuit filed in California and were featured in a Politico article published last weekend.

Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections, said in an email that the office "only recently became aware of the allegations" in the article and the office was reviewing them.

Sisolak's office did not respond to a message seeking comment about the allegations and inquiries into whether the governor would return the campaign donations.

A message seeking comment from California-based MedMen was not returned Wednesday.

In the lawsuit, Parker alleged that MedMen board member Adam Bierman, the company's co-founder and former CEO, gave the maximum $10,000 campaign donation allowed by law to a Nevada politician who is not named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Bierman illegally forced Parker to make a similar donation and that company funds were illegally used to buy furniture for co-founder and executive Andrew Modlin in order to reimburse Modlin for a similar campaign donation made in his name.

State campaign finance records show that Sisolak was the only Nevada politician who received the maximum donation from the three. State campaign finance records show Parker, Bierman and Modlin each gave $10,000 to Sisolak in October 2018, when he was running for governor.

That same month, Sisolak, serving then as chairman of the Clark County Commission, attended the opening of a MedMen store in Las Vegas, presented a placard to Bierman and Modlin and declared it "MedMen Day," praising the company for creating jobs.

The state Republican Party on Tuesday called for Sisolak to return the donations and for Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, to investigate.

Ford spokesperson Monica Moazez said, "As is our office's normal practice, any complaint we receive will be sent to the appropriate personnel for review and consideration."

The campaign donation accusations are among a list of allegations Parker detailed in his lawsuit. MedMen has filed a counterlawsuit against Parker, accusing him of breach of contract and other allegations, Politico reported.

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