Longtime Bay Area cannabis trade school sues former CFO

The oldest marijuana-focused university in the country, Oakland-based Oaksterdam University,  filed a lawsuit against its former chief financial officer.

The lawsuit, among other things, alleges:

  • Assault in 2015 and 2018.
  • Breach of contract.
  • Breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Computer fraud.

Oaksterdam CEO and owner Dale Sky Jones alleged in the suit that former CFO Aseem Sappal illegally founded a competing university by the same name in Vallejo, California, after being terminated by her in November 2018, thereby infringing on Oaksterdam’s trademarked name.

The lawsuit, which lays out a host of claims against the ex-CFO, also alleges that Sappal was terminated for incompetence as CFO and left the university open to “multiple liabilities for wage and hour violations under California law, and claims … related to gender discrimination and retaliation.”

The lawsuit further alleges that Sappal filed a false police report with the Oakland Police Department, and told law enforcement that a Honda Accord he owned was stolen by Jones. Rather, he previously agreed to sell the vehicle to her and she paid him $4,000 for the car, according to the complaint.

The suit also claims that Sappal refused to return a company laptop and still controls access to Oaksterdam’s YouTube channel, refusing to relinquish login information to Jones.

According to the suit, Sappal “conducted an abusive campaign of control and dominance over Plaintiff Jones,” but also “sorely mismanaged” Oaksterdam while Jones was on maternity leave.

Sappal also obtained a “right to sue” notice from the California Department of Employment and Fair Housing, following allegations he made that Oaksterdam created a hostile work environment and that he was subjected to sexual harassment, according to the suit.

To access the lawsuit, click here.

John Schroyer can be reached at [email protected]

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