By Bill Glahn
(Center of the American Experiment) — A firm connected to Ilhan Omar’s current husband, Tim Mynett, is being sued in Hennepin County district court over a business dispute involving South Dakota cannabis start-up companies.
South Dakota has a medical cannabis program approved by voters in 2020. An effort to legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota failed last November.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on the lawsuit, which was filed back in December in Hennepin County, under the headline: “Lawsuit: Former DNC and Minn. political operative defrauded South Dakota cannabis companies.”
The operative in question is named Will Hailer. The lawsuit claims that he is currently a resident of Nebraska.
An archived copy of his website, www.willhailer.com (tag line: “Private Equity. Venture Capital. Former Politico.”), says that he is the CEO and co-founder of Rose Lake Capital. In a long resume, he formerly served as the executive director of the Texas Democratic Party and ran political campaigns for Keith Ellison, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, and Ilhan Omar, among others.
Hailer’s LinkedIn page lists Rose Lake and eStCru as current employers and mentions having co-founded the eStreet Group.
Rose Lake Capital lists Hailer as CEO and Mynett as vice chair. Although Rose Lake Capital is mentioned in the lawsuit, the firm is not a defendant in the case.
Listed as a senior advisor at Rose Lake Capital is former Minnesota state Rep. Kate Knuth, who also served in Minneapolis city government and ran for mayor in 2021, finishing runner up. Also listed as a senior advisor to the firm is former Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson.
The lawsuit lists Hailer personally and eSt Ventures as defendants. The lawsuit additionally lists as defendants two eSt Ventures subsidiaries: Badlands Fund and Badlands Ventures. All three companies listed are incorporated in Delaware.
Ilhan Omar’s third and current husband, Tim Mynett, is not a defendant personally in the case. However, his name appears three times in the lawsuit, described as Hailer’s “associate” and as the co-founder of the three defendant companies.
For his part, Mynett lists three current employers on his LinkedIn page: Rose Lake Capital, eSt Ventures, and the eStreet Group.
The first two corporate names are mentioned in the lawsuit. However, as previously mentioned, only the second (eSt Ventures) is a defendant.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are eight South Dakota-based start-up cannabis companies and 15 individual investors. Twelve of the individuals are South Dakota residents, the other three reside in other states. Not one of them resides in Minnesota.
So, how did this lawsuit involving companies based in Delaware and South Dakota, and parties from around the country end up in Minnesota? As paragraph 24 of the lawsuit explains, that’s what the parties previously agreed to.
The crux of the lawsuit hinges on the claim that Hailer took $3.5 million from the investors and failed to deliver on promises of raising millions more in additional funds for the cannabis startups. The lawsuit says that Hailer has, so far, returned only half the money to investors. Apparently, the South Dakotans dealt only with Hailer. A hearing is set for April, with a trial scheduled for December.
In the end, the entire dispute may turn out to be a garden-variety commercial disagreement involving over-promises and under-delivery. In the meantime, the political connections are fascinating to unwrap.
Long-time readers will recognize the eStreet Group. This is the DC-based consulting firm that Congresswoman Omar paid $2.9 million out of campaign funds.
The UK Daily Mail reports that Omar’s $2.9 million represented 80 percent of the firm’s revenue during a period from 2019 to 2020. The business relationship has reportedly ended. The couple now resides in Washington, D.C., according to reports.
Omar married Mynett in March 2020, following an affair that dated back to at least July 2019.