Little Beach Harvest cannabis dispensary opened in November on Montauk...

Little Beach Harvest cannabis dispensary opened in November on Montauk Highway in Southampton. Credit: Tom Lambui

Months after a high-profile opening, Little Beach Harvest, the cannabis dispensary owned by the Shinnecock Indian Nation, is facing mounting calls from contractors who built the facility on Montauk Highway to pay past-due construction bills.

Payment letters and interviews with contractors indicate local electricians, builders and other construction trades may be owed more than $1 million, and attempts to recoup it thus far have been fruitless.

Officials of Little Beach Harvest, a tribally owned entity, declined to comment. Brian Polite, the outgoing chairman of the tribe’s council of trustees, described the situation as a business contract dispute similar to those experienced by other companies. He declined to elaborate.

The facility opened in November after eight years of development. 

One of the problems appears to be a succession of investors in Little Beach Harvest that have provided levels of funding or management, only to eventually divest their interests. As reported in Newsday, one of the original investors, TILT Holdings, experienced financial problems of its own and passed the investment to Power Fund Holdings just as the facility was about to open last fall.

Calls to Power Fund Holdings and another tribal management firm, Conor Green, were not returned, and it's unclear the level of participation either has in the tribe’s nascent cannabis business.

Letters and emails shown to Newsday indicate payments for past work and construction materials have been delayed for months. Most of the demands for payment went to the company overseeing construction, Rycon Construction of Pittsburgh.

Matt Pentz, a vice president of Rycon, in an interview Wednesday said a total of $1.6 million is owed as a result of the construction at Shinnecock, with the bulk of that — $1.3 million — owed to subcontractors, and $300,000 owed to Rycon. Past-due amounts are up to 11 months old. 

“It's a shame it has taken this long to receive payment,” he said, noting Rycon pays off subcontractors first before taking payments for its own work. “We are currently working with Little Beach Harvest, they have a new funding partner, and we've been working with the new funding partner to try to secure payments on behalf of the subcontractors.” 

Pentz said Rycon has been in discussions with Conor Green, which “told us two or three weeks ago that they are coming back into the picture.” 

Payments for work done when TILT was the funding source ended last May, Pentz said, but work started up again when Power Fund took over in the fall. “We were told they would work out outstanding payments, then they stopped communicating in the fall.” 

Attorney Jeffrey Lhuillier, of Bohemia, confirmed his office has been contacted by several subcontractors “concerning alleged nonpayment for work performed” at the dispensary.

“We are reviewing this matter at the moment and may seek judicial intervention if necessary,” he wrote in an email.

Raymond McQuillan, president of Islandia-based electrical contractor Corporate Electrical Technologies, said in a November letter to Rycon that he had been “waiting patiently to hear as we have been told several times we would get a response on receiving payment. After several follow ups and no new information we believe this is a case of possible intent to deceive or at least severe dereliction of duty."

McQuillan in an interview said his company is owed about $219,000 for electrical work at the dispensary. The company, he said, hasn’t received payment in more than a year.

John Ursini, president of Future Shock Metals & Glass Corp., based in Ronkonkoma, said his company installed windows at the dispensary and has received about $90,000 for a contract totaling $290,000.

He said it’s also been over a year since the company received any payment. There was “no issue” with the work completed, he added.

Heating and air conditioning contractor Seth Stevens, in an email, said payments to his company stopped in June. Rycon had told contractors at the time that the next payment was delayed because of TILT’s pulling out, and that Power Fund would fill in with payments in subsequent months, but it hasn’t happened.

“Excuses of 'next week,' then promises of cash payments, then, 'When this one or that one gets back into town they will cut us checks' … and none of these promises have been lived up to,” Stevens said.

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