Sai Center, Landlords In Legal Tangle – May 30, 2012

The Sai Center's evolving door signs. KLH | Eye

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – Sai Center cannabis colective operator Steve Gasparas has been successfully sued by his landlords, who gained a judgment against him on April 5 for back rent and attorney’s fees in the amount of $15,253.

The Cook/McDonald building at Ninth and I streets, home of the Sai Center. KLH | Eye

The Sai Center is located in the building at 889 Ninth St. owned by Kenneth Cook and Dennis and Patricia McDonald. They tried to evict Gasparas after receiving a Nov. 23 letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. The letter warned of fines, criminal prosection and asset forfeiture for hosting a cannabis shop in proximity to a playground, which Haag believes the Arcata Ball Park is.

The same letter, sent to Danco Group, resulted in the swift eviction and closure of the Humboldt Medical Supply cannabis center on Eighth Street by the Post Office.

But just as he did when the Public Health department tried to shut down his unpermitted Sai Om Shree restaurant in 2007 and later, in defiance of multiple eviction notices at the Sai Center’s old location at 11th and K streets, Gasparas continued to do business at Ninth and I.

On May 11, Gasparas and the landlords’ attorney, Thomas Becker, signed a conditional stay order suspending his eviction until Dec. 1, 2012 pending a judgment on an appeal which Gasparas filed April 25. The stay order specifies that Gasparas can’t use the Ninth Street location for any cannabis prescription, use, production, growing or sale.

The house at Samoa Boulevard and G Street owned by Pat Sarlas, Steven Gasparas' mother. KLH | Eye

Shortly after the stay order went into effect, a hand-lettered sign appeared on the Sai Center’s front door directing customers to a location four blocks away. That’s 389 H St., a residential home located in the Coastal Zone and owned by Gasparas’ mother, Pat Sarlas.

Gasparas was vague about what takes place at the H Street house. “It’s people temporarily working there to share in costs or whatever,” he said. “Patients collectively working together and sharing costs.”

He said the door sign, since replaced by another one which is less specific, was written by “somebody [who] didn’t understand how words work.”

It's unclear where the Sai Center is now doing its cannabis dispensing, since it is under court order not to do so at the Ninth Street location and can't do commercial business out of a residential home.

Community Development Director Larry Oetker said that the City would attempt to determine what sort of business Gasparas was conducting at the house. Commercial activity in a residence could trigger a number of building code violations. It could also gain the attention of the Coastal Commission.

Oetker said any cannabis center operation would be illegal, as the City has a moratorium in effect on new cannabis centers opening. “This absolutely would be a violation,” Oetker said.

Dennis McDonald didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

The attempt to evict self-described “pirate” Gasparas represents a quick turnaround in the landlords’ assessment of the Sai Center’s appropriateness. On Oct. 11, 2011, as the Planning Commission was considering its Conditional Use Permit, Ken Cook extolled the cannabis shop in a letter to the City.

Wrote Cook one month before the U.S. Attorney's fateful letter arrived, “We find the Sai Center to be a thoughtful neighbor and team player for the business district of Arcata!”

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51 Comments

  1. George Nicholas Kallergis said:

    looking for steve call me dude 7274959776.

  2. Bush Man said:

    And Kevin please address the heroin epidemic sweeping bar row. College aged girls shooting up in the restrooms.
    Now that's bloody news you tosser.
    The weed topic? No one bloody cares anymore. Your town has been exposed for being what it is insignificant.

  3. Bush Man said:

    And Kevin please address the heroin epidemic sweeping bar row. College aged girls shooting up in the restrooms.
    Now that's bloody news you tosser.
    The weed topic? No one bloody cares anymore. Your town has been exposed for being what it is insignificant.

  4. Bush Man said:

    And Kevin please address the heroin epidemic sweeping bar row. College aged girls shooting up in the restrooms.
    Now that's bloody news you tosser.
    The weed topic? No one bloody cares anymore. Your town has been exposed for being what it is insignificant.

  5. Bush Man said:

    And Kevin please address the heroin epidemic sweeping bar row. College aged girls shooting up in the restrooms.
    Now that's bloody news you tosser.
    The weed topic? No one bloody cares anymore. Your town has been exposed for being what it is insignificant.

  6. Bush Man said:

    Powers that be don't like the competition. Simple as that.

  7. Bush Man said:

    Powers that be don't like the competition. Simple as that.

  8. Bush Man said:

    Powers that be don't like the competition. Simple as that.

  9. Bush Man said:

    Powers that be don't like the competition. Simple as that.

  10. Benny Lee Maynor Jr. said:

    He may be a hero of the "stoner" community, but not so much to those who are actively involved in the advancement of cannabis' medical respect. Poor business practices, fraudulent deals with patients and especially with providers, not to mention his dishonesty in regards to those he works with have led to his total lack of credibility. I wish he was not considered a representative of responsible and respectable cannabis-associated businesses, as he will NEVER be a commensurate example of one advocating proper medicinal care. I would trust a dealer from my teenage days in Alabama before I would deign to associate with this ethically-bankrupt excuse for a businessman.

  11. Benny Lee Maynor Jr. said:

    He may be a hero of the "stoner" community, but not so much to those who are actively involved in the advancement of cannabis' medical respect. Poor business practices, fraudulent deals with patients and especially with providers, not to mention his dishonesty in regards to those he works with have led to his total lack of credibility. I wish he was not considered a representative of responsible and respectable cannabis-associated businesses, as he will NEVER be a commensurate example of one advocating proper medicinal care. I would trust a dealer from my teenage days in Alabama before I would deign to associate with this ethically-bankrupt excuse for a businessman.

  12. Benny Lee Maynor Jr. said:

    He may be a hero of the "stoner" community, but not so much to those who are actively involved in the advancement of cannabis' medical respect. Poor business practices, fraudulent deals with patients and especially with providers, not to mention his dishonesty in regards to those he works with have led to his total lack of credibility. I wish he was not considered a representative of responsible and respectable cannabis-associated businesses, as he will NEVER be a commensurate example of one advocating proper medicinal care. I would trust a dealer from my teenage days in Alabama before I would deign to associate with this ethically-bankrupt excuse for a businessman.

  13. Benny Lee Maynor Jr. said:

    He may be a hero of the "stoner" community, but not so much to those who are actively involved in the advancement of cannabis' medical respect. Poor business practices, fraudulent deals with patients and especially with providers, not to mention his dishonesty in regards to those he works with have led to his total lack of credibility. I wish he was not considered a representative of responsible and respectable cannabis-associated businesses, as he will NEVER be a commensurate example of one advocating proper medicinal care. I would trust a dealer from my teenage days in Alabama before I would deign to associate with this ethically-bankrupt excuse for a businessman.

  14. Wilton Jordan said:

    Steve Gasparas is a hero of the cannabis community. The dedication and perseverance he has to his cause is endless!

  15. Wilton Jordan said:

    Steve Gasparas is a hero of the cannabis community. The dedication and perseverance he has to his cause is endless!

  16. Wilton Jordan said:

    Steve Gasparas is a hero of the cannabis community. The dedication and perseverance he has to his cause is endless!

  17. Wilton Jordan said:

    Steve Gasparas is a hero of the cannabis community. The dedication and perseverance he has to his cause is endless!

  18. Jim Joy said:

    When will this nonsense stop? Selling drugs for profit,is not covered by prop 215. Let's take our town of Arcata back from these, illegal drug businesses. What a disgrace this town has become, you should be ashamed City of Arcata.

  19. Jim Joy said:

    When will this nonsense stop? Selling drugs for profit,is not covered by prop 215. Let's take our town of Arcata back from these, illegal drug businesses. What a disgrace this town has become, you should be ashamed City of Arcata.

  20. Jim Joy said:

    When will this nonsense stop? Selling drugs for profit,is not covered by prop 215. Let's take our town of Arcata back from these, illegal drug businesses. What a disgrace this town has become, you should be ashamed City of Arcata.

  21. Jim Joy said:

    When will this nonsense stop? Selling drugs for profit,is not covered by prop 215. Let's take our town of Arcata back from these, illegal drug businesses. What a disgrace this town has become, you should be ashamed City of Arcata.

  22. kevpod said:

    There was no grow at the location you mention.

    Where did you get the information that “smell alone” led to the raid on that location?

    The video does not show the “entire PD.”

    The Sai Center moved to its present location in September.

    A friendly suggestion: you might be less mystified and outraged if you dwelt in the realm of facts rather than assumptions and hyperbole.

  23. Mark Sailors said:

    Kev,
    I was referring to the link about the senior citizens that are suing as my example.
    The Sai Center has by all accounts been operating illegally since it moved to the location across from the ACE and CO-OP. How long has that been, almost a full year? And now they have moved it to a NEIGHBORHOOD home.
    My question is, and was how is that going on while old folks with legitimate recommendations get raided based on smell alone, something which I might add is CLEARLY illegal under California law?

  24. Mark Sailors said:

    Kev,
    I was referring to the link about the senior citizens that are suing as my example.
    The Sai Center has by all accounts been operating illegally since it moved to the location across from the ACE and CO-OP. How long has that been, almost a full year? And now they have moved it to a NEIGHBORHOOD home.
    My question is, and was how is that going on while old folks with legitimate recommendations get raided based on smell alone, something which I might add is CLEARLY illegal under California law?

  25. Mark Sailors said:

    Kev,
    I was referring to the link about the senior citizens that are suing as my example.
    The Sai Center has by all accounts been operating illegally since it moved to the location across from the ACE and CO-OP. How long has that been, almost a full year? And now they have moved it to a NEIGHBORHOOD home.
    My question is, and was how is that going on while old folks with legitimate recommendations get raided based on smell alone, something which I might add is CLEARLY illegal under California law?

  26. Mark Sailors said:

    Kev,
    I was referring to the link about the senior citizens that are suing as my example.
    The Sai Center has by all accounts been operating illegally since it moved to the location across from the ACE and CO-OP. How long has that been, almost a full year? And now they have moved it to a NEIGHBORHOOD home.
    My question is, and was how is that going on while old folks with legitimate recommendations get raided based on smell alone, something which I might add is CLEARLY illegal under California law?

  27. Mark Sailors said:

    Kev,
    I was referring to the link about the senior citizens that are suing as my example.
    The Sai Center has by all accounts been operating illegally since it moved to the location across from the ACE and CO-OP. How long has that been, almost a full year? And now they have moved it to a NEIGHBORHOOD home.
    My question is, and was how is that going on while old folks with legitimate recommendations get raided based on smell alone, something which I might add is CLEARLY illegal under California law?

  28. kevpod said:

    “At this point I do not understand why the SaiCenter is given carte blanch when simple “mom and pop” legal medical gardens get raided by the entire PD?”

    What is the basis for these two statements: that “the SaiCenter is given carte blanch when simple “mom and pop” legal medical gardens get raided by the entire PD?”

    Specifically:

    1. Who has granted the Sai Center carte blanche?

    2. What legal medical gardens have been raided by the entire police department?

  29. Mark Sailors said:

    At this point, this isn't about the herb, it is about opening a commercial storefront out of a residential house.
    Anyone else in Arcata that was running a "clinic" out of a residence would get raided and arrested.
    What is the difference here?
    Is it that the city KNOWS that Mr Gasparas will fight the charges in court and not take a plea deal?
    At this point I do not understand why the SaiCenter is given carte blanch when simple "mom and pop" legal medical gardens get raided by the entire PD?

    http://www.arcataeye.com/2012/04/arcata-sued-over-pot-raid-april-5-2012/

  30. Mark Sailors said:

    At this point, this isn't about the herb, it is about opening a commercial storefront out of a residential house.
    Anyone else in Arcata that was running a "clinic" out of a residence would get raided and arrested.
    What is the difference here?
    Is it that the city KNOWS that Mr Gasparas will fight the charges in court and not take a plea deal?
    At this point I do not understand why the SaiCenter is given carte blanch when simple "mom and pop" legal medical gardens get raided by the entire PD?

    http://www.arcataeye.com/2012/04/arcata-sued-over-pot-raid-april-5-2012/

  31. Mark Sailors said:

    At this point, this isn't about the herb, it is about opening a commercial storefront out of a residential house.
    Anyone else in Arcata that was running a "clinic" out of a residence would get raided and arrested.
    What is the difference here?
    Is it that the city KNOWS that Mr Gasparas will fight the charges in court and not take a plea deal?
    At this point I do not understand why the SaiCenter is given carte blanch when simple "mom and pop" legal medical gardens get raided by the entire PD?

    http://www.arcataeye.com/2012/04/arcata-sued-over-pot-raid-april-5-2012/

  32. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  33. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  34. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  35. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  36. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  37. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  38. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

  39. J.Marko Nottell said:

    well the saga-sad, a million and a half folks in jails-for an herb.

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