Ex-Executive Admits to Gardening Pot 

Ex-Executive Admits to Gardening Pot 
Posted by FoM on March 31, 2000 at 10:45:32 PT
By Lacy McCrary, Inquirer Staff Writer
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
With teary eyes, the former president of one of the nation's largest medical-malpractice insurers pleaded guilty yesterday in Bucks County Court to growing a large amount of marijuana in an elaborately outfitted hydroponic garden in his attic.
Daniel Goldberg, 52, of Upper Makefield Township, was sentenced to one year of probation by Common Pleas Court Judge Kenneth G. Biehn. He also must forfeit half the equity in his $350,000 house."I will take into consideration the fact you were not selling marijuana and no children were involved," Biehn said before sentencing.Biehn said he believed the 25 potted, three-foot-tall marijuana plants, grown in a technologically sophisticated room, were intended only for Goldberg and his live-in companion, Edward F. Wiest, 29."This was for personal use, and my sentence will be less severe than it otherwise would be," the judge said. ". . . It is a crime to do what you did. You have paid, and will pay, enormous consequences."Goldberg - short, wiry, with thinning gray hair - and Wiest - tall and blond - pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and conspiracy.Wiest, who said he was Goldberg's groundskeeper and chauffeur, also was given one year's probation.A more serious charge against both men, of manufacturing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, was dropped by Senior Deputy District Attorney Matthew Weintraub in a plea agreement with Goldberg and Wiest. They could have received at least three years in prison on that charge.Wiest had told police he and Goldberg were "potheads" who did not want to buy marijuana on the streets from "riffraff." Both declined to comment after the sentencing yesterday.Goldberg was president and chief executive officer of the MIIX Group Inc., of Lawrenceville, N.J., and earned more than $1 million in salary, bonuses and other compensation in 1998. The MIIX Group is the country's eighth-largest medical-malpractice insurer, said Michele Parisano, its vice president of investor relations.Goldberg was fired on Nov. 9, three days after police raided his home.Goldberg's attorney, Albert Cepparulo, said Goldberg and Wiest had been unable to find jobs in the area and were planning to move to the West Coast. He said Wiest used marijuana for a medical problem, but Cepparulo declined to say what that was.Police said they were led to the house by two men who were arrested in Bensalem Township on Nov. 5 on drug-possession charges. The men told police that they were installing tile in the house and smelled marijuana burning, then explored and found the attic stash.But Cepparulo and Wiest's attorney, William L. Goldman, contended that the two men who alerted police were burglars who had broken into Goldberg's home shortly before the police raid. Cepparulo said the two had not been prosecuted in either offense.Weintraub said that case was still being investigated.Goldman said Goldberg and Wiest already had been severely punished. "They were the victims of a burglary, were incredibly embarrassed by the media, and Goldberg had his home sought by the D.A., and he lost his job."But the attorneys said they were pleased with Biehn's sentence.Chief Deputy District Attorney T. Gary Gambardella said he had filed a forfeiture petition on Goldberg's home, but had agreed to settle for 50 percent of his equity.The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 2000 2000 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Related Article:Bucks Executive Charged As Pot Grower
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #2 posted by Kkmcclenahan on April 12, 2001 at 18:06:49 PT:
Keep up the good work!
Keep up the good work!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by legalizeit on April 01, 2000 at 22:09:13 PT
Crime? What crime? Gardening?!
>"It is a crime to do what you did. You have paid, and will pay, enormous consequences"Growing plants, in the privacy of your own attic, is a crime? Why should one pay enormous consequences for this?One can grow jimsonweed (Datura), a far more dangerous plant than cannabis (even the Indian brujos use it with trepidaton, claiming it can cause permanent insanity.) Why isn't growing this a crime? Far from that, it grows prolifically in the wild here in California.Things peaceful people do in their homes should be none of the government's business.And the fact that the snitches were burglars who had been arrested on drug-possession charges sounds a little sinister, too. It reminds me a little of Eddie Murphy in "Beverly Hills Cop", getting arrested for being thrown out a window or something like that.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: