Ben Shepherd: Planning Commission crook makes massive profit from cannabis ordinance he created

Concerns about conflict of interest in Humboldt politics abound, and it seems a little rare that any elected or appointed official is completely free of suspicion.

Those that have been paying attention will remember the show down between the Harbor District and a bunch of rail-minded folks over perceived conflict of interest concerning Harbor Commissioner Greg Dale.

It’s particularly rare, however, for an official to have an instrumental connection to an ordinance or policy that greatly benefits them financially and to then go and brag to the press about how much money they made.

But that’s just what District 5 Planning Commissioner, and Ryan Sundberg appointee, Ben Shepherd did for the LoCO a couple weeks back.

In a piece called “GREEN RUSH!“, LoCO detailed a number of Humboldt notables who signed up for cannabis operation registration. It’s an entertaining read, as is pondering whether the LoCO made a sleazy move by publishing all those people’s names. (It is public record now folks!)

But THC’s favorite part of the article is where LoCO recounts their interview with Shepherd regarding the sale of his long-time home for the purpose of starting a real big pot grow. Here’s an excerpt (and we encourage you to read the whole article by following the above link, too!):

Reached at his home Tuesday, Shepherd, a famously conservative voice in McKinleyville politics, told the Outpost that the operation registered to his longtime Dows Prairie home – nearly 15,000 square feet of indoor and mixed-light cultivation – actually belong to a man named Cody Stross. He said Stross was in the process of purchasing his land as he filed his cultivation paperwork with the county, and so Shepherd gave Stross his permission to use his name on the application.

The land, which he had lived on since 1972, has since sold, Shepherd said – and for “an excellent price.”

Umm, Shepherd’s not the sharpest tool – although he assuredly is a tool – but bragging about how much you profited from a marijuana ordinance that you helped to create as an appointed government official is a special kind of stupid.

Let it also be said that Shepherd is not only the star of a pretty dubious deal involving the approval of a large marijuana grow in his name but intended for someone else’s use (which is legal, for some reason), but he also has an opinion of himself on par with Donald Trump or Rob Arkley. It’s hard to find an ego as over-inflated as Monsieur Shepherd’s, and it’s been a pain watching him throw his pompousness around the McMAC and the Planning Commission.

The real question is, why the hell is Sundberg so buddy buddy with him? Sundberg already has his failings, and his bromance with a Planning Commissioner that turned an “excellent” profit off a land sale that is a direct result of an ordinance he helped create really isn’t a good look.

We heard from a few folks that Shepherd’s land sale is totally not legal, but we think that it actually (unbelievably!) might be. We’ll get back to you on that.

P.s. thanks to THC commenters and email-ers for pointing out we really needed to write about Shepherd’s drug land sale – the first couple of you who did so have a THC care package coming your way!


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13 Responses to Ben Shepherd: Planning Commission crook makes massive profit from cannabis ordinance he created

  1. Mac Towner says:

    What a complete fool! The only good that will come out of this is if he takes his ill gotten weed money and moves out of McKinleyville. He can take Ryan “Never Met A Tax I Didn’t Love” Sundberg with him!


  2. john williams says:

    Do not get it. So Lee Ulansey has his house on the market for 1.75 million and if he sells it to a grower, he has a conflict of interest? I know of Ben’s old house and it is worth millions, so I do not get it. Just looks like the usual anonymous blogger out to stab someone who can not defend themselves by publishing false and misleading information. If you look at sales lately most are to growers or those connected to growing, by the way did it not become legal for medical in January?


    • Mac Towner says:

      Didn’t know that Ulansky sold to a grower too. Maybe he and Shepard can both move to Marin.


    • Perko says:

      Lee lives in my neighborhood and his house is zoned TPZ. Thanks to Shepard and Sundberg trying to screw over 90% of growers Cannabis cultivation is not allowed on TPZ. Looks like our misleading anonymous blogger is you. Try becoming a little more informed. I actually watched many of the Planning Commission meetings and Ulansey was often the lone voice of sanity. Shepard just wanted to hear himself talk though it certainly looks as if he fixed the regulations to especially benefit him personally.


    • Ted says:

      For the land owners like Sheperd and Ulansley, the pot legislation is all about raising the values of their rural properties. Good luck arguing it any other way.


      • Perko says:

        Ulansey can’t get a permit on his land so there’s nothing to argue about. He didn’t benefit at all.

        Shepard pushed for very specific ridiculous rules that would only benefit a very few landowners like him. Then he cashed in on the rules he created to make MIIIIONS.


      • Ted says:

        Ulansey owns more rural properties that are not zoned TPZ


  3. Had Him In Class says:

    Shepard is a douch


  4. Ronerville ron says:

    Open mouth incert foot


  5. Ronerville ron says:

    Shepard is an egotistical ass, I think that’s why Sundberg and him are so tight, they are joined by Arkley sized egos. What’s scarry is that Sundberg does exactly what ben tells him to do. I wonder what sundbergs payoff was for the “very good price” Shepard got. Talk about corruption!!


  6. Jayne says:

    I hope Shepard gets —– —— and —- – —- ——- —–. Off the planet asshole!


    • Howdy Jayne, Normally we would thank you for dropping by and suggest a cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade but you must be well into your second fifth of some serious rot gut. Did you seriously think we could let your comment slide? Get a grip. Shepard certainly is a tool but we would never wish anything ill on anybody. Benny might well deserve our spite for manipulating his position for some serious moola but we’ll leave the repercussions to a higher power. Might we suggest some deep breathing and hot yoga to recenter yourself. You’re welcome to hang with us but lets mellow out on the death wishes. Cheers!


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