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Judge orders temporary halt to Westervelt pot operations

Mar 26, 2021
Nick Westervelt is pictured in 2018 in front of 500 Main St. in Rockland.

A state judge issued Friday a temporary restraining order against the operator of a downtown Rockland medical marijuana shop which will prevent him from selling off any items or operating the business.

Justice Bruce Mallonee signed the temporary restraining order sought by a Tennessee company that invested nearly $1 million in the Scrimshaw medical marijuana store in downtown Rockland.

Volunteer Wellness LLC of Nashville filed a lawsuit March 25 in the Knox County court in Rockland against Nicholas Westervelt and his related companies — Scrimshaw Provisions LLC; 500 Main Street Holdings LLC; Overlock Farm Holdings LLC and Pickle Lips LLC. The Tennessee company claims that Westervelt breached their agreements and was planning a yard sale on the weekend for equipment and furnishings at the downtown business.

Volunteer has asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and expedited hearing on that order to stop Westervelt from getting rid of what the company claims are its assets and to prevent financial records from being destroyed.

Justice Mallonee's order prevents the sale of any collateral, including any tangible property acquired for or used in the conduct of any operation at 500 Main St. or the grow facility at Overlock Hill in Union. The judge also barred Westervelt from "conducting any business operations at said Store or Grow Facility."

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Volunteer by Portland attorney Clifford Ruprecht, states the company invested $950,000 in Westervelt's businesses in October 2019 and in exchange, maintained 49% interest in those businesses but would receive 90% of net revenues until the investment was repaid.

The company argues in the lawsuit that beginning this year, Westervelt stopped providing the investment firm with information on the finances of the local businesses and stopped making deposits into the companies' accounts.

In addition, Volunteer claims Westervelt announced to his employees in late February that Scrimshaw, a medical marijuana provider, would be closing immediately and be replaced by a new company he formed — Pickle Lips LLC.

Pickle Lips was filed with the Maine Secretary of State's corporations bureau Feb. 26, according to the state agency. Westervelt is represented by attorney James Smith of Brunswick, who filed the corporation papers for the new company.

Volunteer claims Westervelt are using assets from the companies where Volunteer has a stake and diverted it to his new company. The investment firm also argued in its lawsuit that Pickle Lips would be a direct competitor to the company they invested in.

Westervelt responded March 25 in an email to the Courier-Gazette.

"After careful consideration and consulting with all parties involved we have cut ties with our former partners and are excited to move forward without the baggage," Westervelt said.

"It's not a coincidence that this is happening on the heels of our announcement to expand our operations at 500 Main St., and the decision was made unanimously by our staff. With adult use cannabis already here, and over a year of infighting resulting in huge delays In our company's progress in the market, we're hoping these changes can streamline and propel us on all fronts moving forward, Westervelt said.

"We've long established ourselves as leaders in the cannabis space, we're sure this will only result in better, more varied product and access for our customers, as well as smoother operations and, of course a savings we hope to pass on. We've chosen our local business relationships and our staff as our priorities, and are standing up against the predatory practices of these investment firms, we're getting far too tired of hearing these unsettling stories in our industry," he said.

Westervelt filed an application March 15 with the Rockland code enforcement office to allow him to operate a bar, pool hall and game room at 500 Main St.

The code officer is reviewing state regulations to determine whether there needs to be a physical distance between the marijuana store and the new proposed activities.

If approved, the application states that the new activities would be operating in June.

Westervelt's Scrimshaw at 500 Main St. received approval in May 2018 from the Rockland Planning Board. The store opened in June 2019, as a medical marijuana store.

He has filed an application to operate an adult recreational marijuana store.

The 14,000-square-foot brick building was once the First Baptist church, which relocated in the early 1990s, with parts of the original chapel dating back to 1836. The pool hall/bar is proposed to be located where the chapel was located.

The building was later used to store antiques. The building is owned by Jeremiah and Patricia Pasternak of Hampton, N.H., who bought it in 2004.

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Comments (11)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Apr 02, 2021 04:51

Got a natural high there over the years from many fine preachers, starting with J. Charles McDonald. :) Set the stage for an ever expanding faith in God.

Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Apr 01, 2021 14:25

Sumner try.....Tea time @ 4:20

Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Mar 29, 2021 12:27

What could I write that would add value to this continuing saga?  KYMS Sumner.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Mar 27, 2021 11:09

You are half way there Stephen. High is a list requirement for both judges and contestants.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Mar 27, 2021 09:04

Crawford have you selected any judges for your July Pool tournament ?  Hope I'm high on your list.

Posted by: ALEXANDER CARVER | Mar 26, 2021 20:13

Same guy whose going to jail for going 95 mph because of a "panic attack". Good riddance.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 26, 2021 19:42

And the truth will come out.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Mar 26, 2021 17:55

This definitely puts a damper on my planned July "Roll 'Em If you Got 'Em Midnight Toker Pool Bash" on Main St.

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Mar 26, 2021 16:50

Isn't this the same person and company that wished to expand it's business into a smoke room etc?


Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Mar 26, 2021 16:16

Graduate of Trump University with a degree in public speaking ?

Posted by: MIchael or Rhonda Smith | Mar 26, 2021 10:19

Imagine that .... shady dealings alleged at a marijuana dispensary.   Who’d have ever predicted ?

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