AUGUSTA — Another board member has quit the group that holds the right to operate half Maine’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

In a July 20 email to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Northeast Patients Group Executive Director Becky DeKeuster wrote that Faith Benedetti, of Winthrop, had stepped down from the board of directors that week.

Benedetti did not return messages left Tuesday on her cell phone and Facebook page. DeKeuster didn’t return a message left on her phone.

In July, Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, a former Cumberland County sheriff, told the Kennebec Journal he had also departed the board, in June.

Benedetti’s departure leaves the board with only two known members: chairman Daniel Walker, also the group’s counsel; and Paul Sevigny, a Holden pharmacist.

Sevigny confirmed Benedetti’s departure Monday, but said he wouldn’t comment on it. Walker did not respond to a message seeking comment.

In the July 20 email, DeKeuster said, “Sevigny and I are actively recruiting board members who will help us maintain and expand the individual areas of expertise represented. We plan to increase board membership to seven.”

On July 14, Walker wrote an email to Catherine Cobb, director of licensing for DHHS, saying they had finalized a $2 million financing agreement with former NBA player Cuttino Mobley.

After Northeast provided the agreement to her the next day, Cobb said Northeast officials wanted the documentation of the final agreement to be kept confidential as a “trade secret.”

Cobb said she took no position on confidentiality, but said if Northeast didn’t provide legal proof by Aug. 3 that the agreement with Mobley was a trade secret, the document would be released to the Kennebec Journal.

Cobb is out of the office this week. Medical Marijuana Program Director John Thiele said she was in the hospital and would be out of work indefinitely.

“There is some new information that will be released to the press probably tomorrow,” Sevigny said Tuesday. “We’re just getting to the end of these processes and I wouldn’t want to poison any of that.”

In July, Cobb said the new agreement between representatives of Northeast Patients Group and Mobley Pain Management and Wellness Center would be very close to a deal outlined in a Feb. 23 letter of intent between Northeast and Mobley.

That letter said Mobley would provide Northeast with $2 million, in four increments, for the exclusive right to supply Northeast dispensaries with drinks, edibles, topical solutions and alcohol-based herbal extractions called tinctures. In exchange, is to would earn 18 percent interest for seven years.

Northeast has the exclusive right to operate dispensaries in Portland, Kennebec County, the Bangor area and Thomaston. A Thomaston marijuana growing facility was made operational in June.

Mobley — whose 11-year career with four NBA teams ended in 2008 — also will consult on security, cultivation, operations, marketing, quality assurance and public relations, among other things, according to the letter.

The board resignations also come on the heels of a lawsuit against Northeast by their former California-based financial backer.

Berkeley Patients Group, sued Augusta-based Northeast Patients Group and DeKeuster on July 6 in Cumberland County Superior Court, alleging DeKeuster used confidential information to strike the deal with Mobley without telling them. She was then serving as Berkeley’s New England expansion director.

Days after the letter of intent’s finalization, DeKeuster resigned from Berkeley.

DeKeuster’s contract with Berkeley, submitted to the court, prohibits her from discussing company-related confidential information without Berkeley’s written consent. It also bars her from competing for business with Berkeley for two years after she leaves them.

The lawsuit seeks repayment of $632,195 in loans from Berkeley to Northeast and asks the court order DeKeuster, of Augusta, to leave Northeast.

The disclosure of Benedetti’s departure was contained in a file of emails between Cobb, representatives of Northeast Patients Group, and Mobley Pain Management and Wellness Center provided to the Kennebec Journal under a Maine Freedom of Access Act request.

Michael Shepherd — 621-5662

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.