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Hamburg reaches settlement with marijuana grower

Dan Hamburg


Mendocino County board of supervisors candidate Dan Hamburg has reached a settlement with a man who accused him in a lawsuit of cheating him out of his medical marijuana.

The facts of the case, however, remain clouded by a dispute that raises additional legal and tax issues for the former congressman and his one-time friend.

The terms of the settlement reached late Tuesday remain confidential. Walker was asking for the $7,500 maximum allowed in small claims court. But he claimed in a public letter to Hamburg that he was owed much more for his share of the pot grown on Hamburg’s property in 2008 and 2009.

Hamburg said none of that pot belonged to Walker and that Walker was tending the garden in exchange for rent and his help with legal and medical problems.

“There was no agreement” to either pay or share the crop — about 25 plants each of the two years — with Walker, he said Monday. “We were just trying to help him.” Walker has had a troubled legal past, including drug-related arrests and unpaid child support obligations.

Calvin Walker claimed six of the 24- to 25 plants grown each of the two years on Hamburg’s land were his. The county allows up to six mature plants for each medical marijuana user and a maximum number of 25 plants per land parcel.

A photograph Walker submitted with his lawsuit shows documentation for four medical marijuana users hanging among marijuana plants. They are for Hamburg, his wife, a daughter and Walker.

Hamburg said he didn’t need Walker’s medical marijuana authorization to grow 25 plants legally on his property. Because his wife had cancer, her doctor has recommended more than six plants, he said.

Hamburg potentially could be in legal trouble if he kept marijuana grown under someone else’s medical marijuana card, as Walker contended.

“That’s not in line with what the intention of the (medical marijuana) law was,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman.

Hamburg has dismissed the allegations by Walker as political. He said one of his critics likely hired Ukiah attorney Erik Petersen to help Walker with his lawsuit.

Petersen said he was asked to intervene but is not being paid. He declined to reveal who asked him to help Walker.

The case also raises tax and other legal issues.

If Hamburg and Walker were exchanging goods or services, whether marijuana or labor, it likely should have been reported as income, according to IRS regulations.

“Barter does create income” that should be reported on tax returns, said IRS spokesman Richard Panick.

Hamburg had a run-in with state employment officials over allegations of unreported income in 1992. He was fined for not reporting work he’d done for a contractor while collecting unemployment but was later cleared by an administrative judge who believed Hamburg had not been paid for the work by the contractor, a friend.

News researcher Janet Balicki contributed to this report.

14 Responses to “Hamburg reaches settlement with marijuana grower”

  1. Antonio.L says:

    Oh, we have our “Papa Bear” Hamburg here alright, and like no other county can compare. Think about it, Hamburg and his cronies want to keep Marijuana illegal, while the more “conservative” folks in Mendocino Co. have the common sense to legalize it and make it not profitable for the Mexican Mafia who are using AK47s in our National Forests! How bizarre is that!

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  2. Kitty C. says:

    Being from Mendocino County, and not knowing very much about Sonoma County, I’m sitting here now, wondering whether politics are as weird in Sonoma County as they are in Mendocino County.

    I mean, does Sonoma County have its equivalent of Dan “Papa Bear” Hamburg?

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  3. bob says:

    Hamburg settles out of court the day after this letter was released in an Anderson Valley paper: http://theava.com/archives/7879

    And what is up with this baggage? From the article above:

    “That’s not in line with what the intention of the (medical marijuana) law was,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman.

    The case also raises tax and other legal issues.

    “Barter does create income” that should be reported on tax returns, said IRS spokesman Richard Panick.

    Hamburg had a run-in with state employment officials over allegations of unreported income in 1992. He was fined for not reporting work he’d done for a contractor while collecting unemployment.

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  4. Peter Phillips says:

    Has anyone raised the possibility that Papa Bear was growing loads of pot to support that community of freaks that he used to be part of, over in Lake County?

    I think the name of its “guru” is Adi Da.

    I know Mama Bear (Dan’s wife, Laurie) is still a member, despite Adi Da’s well-documented abuses toward women.

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  5. What's Important says:

    That never occurred to me, that Papa Bear was using a 215 card in his daughter Elizabeth’s name without her permission or knowledge.

    That is some serious family dysfunction.

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  6. john says:

    Whats Important, you did overlook the fact that Elizabeth still had a permit in the photo about Calvin Walker in the first article. Therefore, either she still needs 5-6 plants for her medical marijuana health issue or she is unknowingly involved in the family biz. Is Papa Bear using his daughter w/o her permission?

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  7. john says:

    I believe they call Hamburg “Papa Bear” because he is obviously a friend of dope growers, or godfather if you will. The funny thing is, it appears that Marijuana will be legalized in CA in November. A poll out last week shows 50% in favor, 40% against and 10% undecided. If it passes, Hamburg and his growers are out of business. What a quandary for Hamburg and his thugs!

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  8. What's Important says:

    Dan “Papa Bear” Hamburg got his nickname because growing pot is the family business…and he is the head of it. He is Papa Bear.

    Years ago, Papa Bear got two of his “baby bears” into the business — his daughters, Elizabeth and Laura.

    To her credit, Elizabeth transcended the family business. She is a born-again Christian and personal trainer who works at a local health club in Ukiah.

    Meanwhile, Laura remaind firmly entrenched in the family business.

    A few years ago, Laura was arrested. Taken into evidence were 50 pounds of pot that she almost certainly did not grow herself.

    Either Laura Hamburg was brokering for other growers or holding her father’s stash.

    The charge was larer dismissed on a technicality. But the arrest report remains a matter of record.

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  9. Plan B 2.0 says:

    Just curious: Why do they call Dan Hamberg, “Papa Bear” up there in Mendocino County?

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  10. Arianna Rose says:

    On the Mendocino County “mcn” list serves tonight, Dan “Papa Bear” Hamberg is artfully dodging his settlement with Calvin Waker…and all the implications for felony cultivation, sales, trafficking, etc., and income tax evasion.

    Papa Bear is doing this by changing the subject back to his comfort zone…the environment.

    On the list serve tonight, Papa Bear is merrily and manically chattering away about the new book, “Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Green Revolution”.

    Green Gone Wrong?

    Sounds like it could be title of Papa Bear’s autobiography! LOL

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  11. bob says:

    Hey, John. Why don’t you join the community listservs on mcn.org and get your thoughts out to a bunch of voters. We really need your help.

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  12. john says:

    The IRS and Franchise Tax Board should be interested in Hamburg’s tax evasion too:

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  13. john says:

    No surprise. Dan “Papa Bear” Hamburg did not want this case to see the light of day.

    A $500,000 grow, as the plaintiff, Calvin Walker, contended in his complaint?

    False documentation, as will possibly be investigated by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office?

    Tax evasion, as will possibily be investigated by the IRS?

    This is a man who would be elected to the Board of Supervisors.

    Only in Mendocino County. We are an embarassment to the rest of the state and nation.

    Time for another CNBC documentary.

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  14. bob says:

    This article is more balanced and better written than the first one about the lawsuit being filed. Looks like researcher Janet Balicki really made a difference over Dan’s personal friend, Glenda Anderson.

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