Chris Webber throws up air balls for NY’s legal weed fund: report

A former NBA star and shoe entrepreneur chosen to help raise New York’s $200 million fund related to its nascent legal weed has failed to raise the money, according to a new report.

Social Equity Impact Ventures – which also owns Chris Webber and businesswoman Lavetta Willis – came under scrutiny after being hired by the New York State Dormitory Authority (DASNY) to manage the massive public-private fund last June were intended to bring equity to the company State Cannabis Industry.

But while the state touted the company as a “premium minority-led investment team,” a report by NY Cannabis Insider said the couple beat the state’s expected deadline to raise $150 million from private investors for the public- private partnership that would then be issued to weed retail stores.

Among other things, the investigative article included that Webber and Willis, who started a sneaker company in the 1990s, failed in some of their wildest claims, like building a cannabis compound in Detroit and pumping $100 million into a target fund at Entrepreneurs of Color .

Additionally, the two have shown past financial mismanagement, the outlet reported.

A new report states that former NBA star Chris Webber is underperforming in the cannabis industry.
A new report says former NBA star Chris Webber is underperforming for the cannabis industry.

Part of the work DASNY cites for picking Webber, part of the Michigan “Fab Five,” and Willis is their partnership with the Webber Wild Impact Fund, a purported $100 million fund that started back in February 2021 was announced to help black cannabis entrepreneurs, but NY Cannabis Insider reported that it couldn’t find anyone who had received any money from it.

“I didn’t see them do anything,” Lanese Martin, executive director of The Hood Incubator, told the outlet. The political action organization was reportedly in talks with Webber and Jason Wild, an investment officer at JW Asset Management.

Webber, Willis and Wild also announced their intention to build a nine-acre cannabis facility in downtown Detroit in September 2021, but the news outlet reported that there is no indication the project is underway.

Building permits and permits were signed last year, a Detroit spokesman reportedly confirmed.

Businesswoman Lavetta Willis is Webber's partner in the venture.
Businesswoman Lavetta Willis is Webber’s partner in the venture.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

“The city is aware of the upcoming project but is unsure of its intentions,” spokeswoman Leisa Parham told the outlet.

The outlet also reported Willis failed to pay state and federal taxes at least seven times from 2006 to 2016, resulting in more than $110,000 in judgments and liens against her in two states.

Meanwhile, Webber was indicted two decades ago for lying to a grand jury about a financial deal involving a Michigan booster that involved money laundering, though he ultimately pleaded a lesser charge of criminal contempt since it happened when he was still a college kid was .

New York is trying to get its legal cannabis market up and running.
New York is trying to get its legal cannabis market up and running.
Denver Post via Getty Images

The DASNY told Cannabis Insider that no information has come to light that would affect Impact Ventures’ chance of being selected under government procurement mandates.

DASNY also refused to tell the news agency how much of the $150 million Webber and Willis have raised so far. Chris Webber throws up air balls for NY’s legal weed fund: report


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