Jar company linked to demise of Illinois political dynasty claims it lost after state mismanaged request

Defeated congressional candidate from declining Illinois political dynasty is linked to cannabis startup that sues state in federal court for failing to even file its license application lucrative dispensary.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, claims that partners of EDBQ LLC have repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested the notes of their candidacy from officials in the Department of Illinois Financial and Professional Regulations, the agency responsible for distributing the pot. store licenses. If the request had been noted, the prosecution argues that the EDBQ would likely have received all the available points and would have become a finalist to open a dispensary.

Two partners later admitted controversial Republican Bill Fawell was involved in the start-up, although his name does not appear in the lawsuit or on the company’s file with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. Fawell is the uncle of lawyer Nathan Nebergall, a cannabis grower from Oklahoma who is among the registered directors of the company.

While the lawsuit frames many of the current finalists for the next round of pot store licenses as “politically connected insiders,” Fawell comes from a family that has its roots in DuPage. original settlers from the county and sent members to Congress and the state legislature. His cousin, Scott Fawell, was notably used as a right-hand man to bribe former Governor George Ryan.

Earlier this year, Bill Fawell ran for Illinois’ 17e The headquarters of the Congressional District House, but lost its primary to lawyer Esther Joy King. Representative Cheri Bustos, the Democrat who defeated King and who has controlled this northwestern Illinois district since 2013, previously defeated Fawell in the 2018 general election.

In the run-up to this election, Republicans in Illinois withdrew their support for Fawell for posts on his campaign’s Facebook page that appeared to support conspiracy theories of the 9/11 terrorist attack and mass shooting in Sandy Hook School in 2012. Most recently, Bill Fawell used his personal Facebook page to reinforce baseless allegations regarding voter fraud and the coronavirus pandemic.

As recently as last week, he published an alarming caption alongside an article about the far-right Proud Boys’ plans to attend the recent “Million MAGA March”.


Bill Fawell / Facebook

He also used the platform to congratulate his cousin Scott Fawell, the son of former State Senator Beverly Fawell (R-Glen Ellyn) and Bruce Fawell, a former judge who once ran the county court system. by DuPage. Old Representative Harris Fawell (R-Ill.) Is their uncle.

Scott Fawell became known for his fierce tactics as he rose to the rank of Ryan’s best assistant. But like the disgraced ex-governor, he was ultimately sentenced to federal prison after being convicted in a public corruption inquiry.

Bill Fawell did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the EDBQ lawsuit, the company is run by a military veteran who qualifies as a so-called social equity claimant, a designation created by the state to bolster minority ownership in the cannabis industry at white majority in the state. Having a qualified majority owner as both a veteran and a social equity candidate has proven vital, as the 21 groups initially qualified for an upcoming lottery to determine the winners of the next 75 dispensary licenses have all received perfect application scores.

While the Sun-Times has identified the apparent majority owner of EDBQ as Jerry Freeman, a 70-year-old navy veteran from Northwestern Illinois, his name does not appear on the state file. the company nor in the federal lawsuit. The name of Gary Edison Jr., an African-American military veteran who described himself as a “small investor,” is also missing from the documents, although the lawsuit refers to an organization he heads and which helps other veterans access medical cannabis.

Reached by phone, Edison initially advised The Sun-Times to contact Bill Fawell, whom he later described as an “organizer” who helped put together the pool of candidates.

“That’s who I’ve been in contact with,” said Edison, who doesn’t believe Bill Fawell has a direct stake in the business. Freeman also acknowledged that Fawell is linked to the business.

Nebergall did not respond to questions about Bill Fawell’s involvement.

However, an obituary from Bill Fawell’s father, former DuPage County Airport Manager Thomas Fawell, mentions Nebergall as his grandson. Another family obituary lists Terry Nebergall as Fawell’s sister.

Although he did not file a complaint on Tuesday, EDBQ attorney Nick Hyde said the company just wanted a “fair hit” for the pottery store license it had applied for. A spokesperson for the IDFPR declined to comment on the ongoing dispute.

Lawyer Nick Hyde poses with Rep. Cheri Bustos.

Hyde, who works in the Jo Daviess County Public Defender’s office, stands at the opposite end of Bill Fawell’s political spectrum. The Democrat backed Bustos in this year’s congressional race and led a losing campaign for the state House of Representatives in 2018.

Hyde also did not answer questions about Bill Fawell’s involvement in the pot company.