Redondo Seashore Councilman Obagi lampooned in mailer from hashish initiative backer

by Garth Meyer

The men behind the successful retail cannabis signature collection initiative fired another volley across town on Christmas Eve, delivering 7,000 mailers to residents of North Redondo.

The subject was Alderman Zein Obagi, Jr., whose District 4 is in North Redondo Beach

The mailer is headed “Lawyer and Councilor Zein Obagi. The Grinch who allegedly stole his client’s money. ”The headline features the counselor’s face.

The mailer contained other headlines from Spectrum News 1 and Easy Reader about allegations that Obagi was investigated by the State Bar last July.

“We are just letting citizens know about the hypocrisy that prevails in the political class,” said Elliott Lewis, co-founder of the Economic Development Reform Coalition of Southern California (EDRCSC), which paid for the Post. The EDRCSC is funded by Lewis’ Catalyst Cannabis Co. and Barry Walker’s Dub Brothers Management, another cannabis company. Lewis and Walker are supporters of the Redondo cannabis initiative.

During a city council meeting on Nov. 2, Obagi interviewed EDRSCS co-founder and attorney Damian A. Martin, suggesting that he and Lewis were planning to sue the city for a permit to run a marijuana shop.

Martin admitted that they did it in another city.

“(Obagi) cross-examined our moderator, ironically he wanted an investigation into our signature collectors,” said Lewis.

Calls to the city council for comments on the mailer have not decreased.

Lewis and Obagi previously crossed paths in 2019 when Obagi sued EEL Holdings on behalf of client Michelle Daskalos, who rented a 43,000-square-foot building in Long Beach from EEL, owned by Lewis, for an approved marijuana grower . After the rent was not paid, Lewis sued. Then Daskalos sued EEL over funds spent on architectural plans.

The matter was settled out of court in 2020.

Elliott Lewis hooked up with Councilor Obagi in 2019 when Obagi was representing a Long Beach tenant who was suing Lewis’ holding company.

Los Angeles-based Obagi Law Group promotes its services to potential clients on “both sides of cannabis litigation.”

“I offered to discuss it publicly because it lies lying that if they take the initiative, the city will be sued,” said Lewis.

The Christmas Mailing and Debate Challenge is the latest move from Lewis, who is hoping his company can get approval for one of the three marijuana retail stores that would be allowed in Redondo Beach if his initiative is approved by voters.

Catalyst funded half of Redondo’s $ 174,000 signature collection contract and the other half came from Dub Brothers.

“It looks like a bad game. Right now I’m pretty confident that I won’t get a license at Redondo Beach, ”said Lewis. “I’ve talked too much, sh …”

Redondo Beach City Council set up a cannabis steering committee three years ago and adopted its recommendations in October.

“You have to keep in mind that there’s a bigger game going on in California,” said Lewis. “70 percent of cities have not yet opened (to the cannabis trade).”

“The mailer was kind of my idea, the Grinch was kind of his idea,” said Lewis.

His call to Obagi is up for debate and also for other city councils.

Councilors have stated that they are partially opposed to the marijuana initiative because it does not allow city taxes on cannabis.

“We would support the same initiative with a four percent tax,” said Lewis.

State Bar proceedings against Obagi in court

The State Bar of California’s case against Zein Obagi, Jr., councilor for the fourth district of Redondo Beach, is nearing trial, a State Bar spokesman said Tuesday.

“In the absence of a provision reflecting an agreement, the case will be brought to court on the basis of the notice of disciplinary action.” said the spokesman.

The bar filed seven counts of misconduct against Obagi in July after the Los Angeles Supreme Court ruled him for $ 710,000 in favor of a former client, a partner at a marijuana dispensary. Obagi has denied any wrongdoing. IS