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Lodi Boys and Girls Club head worked for medical marijuana operation

Club's board of directors plan meeting tonight to consider exec's future

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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:00 am

Directors of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club are meeting tonight after learning that the club's CEO once worked briefly for a marijuana operation, but did not disclose that when he applied for his current job.

Paul Bonell, president of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club, did some consulting work in the past with a now-defunct medical marijuana operation. But Bonell did not list this work on his resume, and did not disclose it to the board of directors during the hiring process.

Bonell was mentioned in a New York Times story published Sunday regarding federal action against the marijuana operation. That operation included medical marijuana dispensaries and a warehouse where more than 2,000 plants were cultivated.

Mark Bregman, chair of the club's board of directors, said Bonell underwent a complete background check when he was hired, but it did not turn up anything connected with the dispensary or anything else that could cause concern to a new employer.

The Times article focused on Matt Davies of Stockton. Davies is currently facing federal charges for cultivating marijuana, after federal authorities raided two dispensaries and a warehouse filled with marijuana plants in Stockton in July 2012. Davies is challenging the charges on the basis that he ran a medical marijuana dispensary in line with California regulations.

Bonell did work for Davies in early 2011 as a consultant. This week, Bonell told Bregman his work lasted fewer than 60 days. He does not face charges related to the Davies case.

Bonell was hired by the Lodi Boys and Girls Club in November 2011. He replaced Richard Jones, the 18-year CEO for the Lodi club. At the time, club officials said Bonell stood out due to his financial and business background. His job began on Dec. 12, 2011.

When he applied, Bonell made known his experience as CEO of Premier Credit Union for 21 years, but nothing was said of his work for Davies. According to Bregman, Bonell did not disclose his consulting work because it lasted such a short time. He didn't see any issues with working in the past for the medical marijuana outfit and working now for the Boys and Girls Club, because medical marijuana dispensaries do not sell to children under the age of 18.

"He didn't see it as conflict. We didn't have the ability to make that decision when we hired him," said Bregman. "We know he didn't break any laws." When Bonell was hired, Bregman said the club was on the brink of bankruptcy and needed someone with a financial background to fill the presidential post. Bonell was able to cut $180,000 in debt during 2012.

Bonell handles the finances while Edwin Cotton, vice-president, oversees daily operations.

"We are very thankful for Paul for his last year of work for the club. Sure, he is not out there playing basketball. He was hired to clean up our books," said Bregman.

About 80 kids attend the club each day to do homework, work on projects and get in some exercise. Bregman said that is four times the number of kids who were coming each day when Bonell was hired.

Bregman said he and the board of directors had no knowledge of Bonell's work for Davies until calls for interviews about the issue starting coming in.

"He's not getting fired over something like that. The only thing we need to figure out is why it was not on his resume," said Bregman.

The board of directors will meet tonight at 5 p.m. to discuss Bonell's future at the club.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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  • Lisa Colon-Thomas posted at 12:18 pm on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    Negrapalma Posts: 1

    What's the big deal....he was a consultant. Is he doing his job for the club? That's what matters....give it a rest. And move on to what matters..it's the children that's the bottom line.

  • Lisa Wagner posted at 9:36 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    Lodiblondie Posts: 2

    Add it to his Resume and move on!



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