Marijuana partnership leads to fraud suit

The Orcutt Road marijuana grow site shortly after the first crop was harvested.

By KAREN VELIE

A partnership formed to claim part of California’s estimated $7 billion pot industry wound up in a San Luis Obispo County court with claims of fraud and forgery.

Kyle Billingsley, Hal Billingsley, Sean Despain and Patrick Aurignac formed a partnership with marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring in 2016. They got a loan from the Billingsley Family Trust and bought the 106-acre Legacy Ranch located on Orcutt Road near the intersection of Tank Farm Road, according to the operating agreement.

The group agreed that Aurignac would be the manager and live at one of the four homes on the ranch, while Dayspring and Despain would oversee the marijuana grow, according to court documents. They split the corporation with Kyle Billingsley at 16.66 percent, Hal Billingsley at 16.66 percent, Despain at 18.33 percent, Aurignac at 33.33 percent, and Helios Dayspring at 15 percent.

Dayspring then applied for a permit for a 30-plant caregiver pot operation while noting his plans to expand into a commercial operation in the future.

“The primary purpose of this purchase is to establish a one-acre cultivation site,” Dayspring wrote in his application.

But problems arose. Dayspring asked the Billingsleys, Despain and Aurignac to give up part of their ranch ownership percentages to one of his Grover Beach dispensary associates for providing a county cultivation permit. The others refused.

Then, the partners got ticked off at Aurignac. They wanted him off the property and out of the corporation, according to the lawsuit. They then amended the charter so they could get rid of him.

Aurignac sued saying they forged his signature in order to defraud him of his interest in the ranch. Aurignac wanted $100,000 and the imposition of a constructive trust to ensure he would be paid for managing the ranch, according to the lawsuit.

“The defendants intended to commit the criminal act of forging an amendment to the Legacy Operating Agreement in order to wrongfully oust plaintiff as both manager and member of Legacy, to install Kyle as manager, to force an involuntary buy-out of plaintiff’s membership,” the suit says.

Amid the legal dispute the partners were given more bad news. Because the Legacy Ranch is located next to a park, they are not permitted to grow marijuana on the ranch.

The Billingsleys and Despain then agreed to a private settlement that resulted in their ownership interests being transferred to Aurignac, leaving only Dayspring as a defendant in the lawsuit. Kyle Billingsley, Despain, Aurnignac and Dayspring declined to answer questions about the suit.

On March 23, Aurignac’s attorney Roy Ogden filed to serve Dayspring through a three-week notice in the SLO New Times, according to court records.

On May 22, a request for default judgment was filed against Dayspring, which did not include a monetary amount. A case management conference is scheduled for May 31.

Over the past few years, Dayspring’s business activities have been both praised and disparaged. Through his marijuana brand, Dayspring has sponsored multiple children’s events in Grover Beach including an Easter egg hunt and a Christmas toy giveaway. At the events, banners and workers’ shirts advertised Dayspring’s marijuana businesses.

In Feb. 2017, seven men broke into Dayspring’s home on the 8400 block of San Gregorio in Atascadero and held him at gunpoint while they tied him up. The robbers, all from out of San Luis Obispo County, reportedly snatched 885 pounds of medical marijuana and $139,000 in cash from Dayspring’s residence.

Before the home invasion, Dayspring utilized the residence as a hub for his marijuana businesses often moving more than a million dollars in product a month, according to several of Dayspring’s former employees.

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