news - In the Weeds

Coasterdam operator Kevin Saunders calls an attorney’s attempt to hold him in contempt of court “unbelievable.”

An outspoken medical marijuana advocate and Marina mayoral candidate faces possible arrest, and it’s not because of the drugs.

It’s the latest in the dramatic – or tragic, depending on your perspective – saga of Kevin Saunders, an operator of the Marina-based Coasterdam Cannabis Collective. Saunders, who was a third-year law student at Monterey College of Law until his expulsion earlier this month, could be arrested for violating a restraining order obtained by his former law school.

Saunders was temporarily suspended on Sept. 16 for sending allegedly threatening emails to a professor and then the school’s dean, Mitchel Winick. Days after Winick sought and obtained the initial restraining order, Saunders sent an email to Winick that referred to the dean’s family, and wrote he planned to go to campus to protest at a seminar featuring state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

It prompted Winick to hire private security for his home and bring extra guards to campus. Monning, meanwhile, had been traveling with a California Highway Patrol security detail to public appearances.

Saunders was expelled from the school on Oct. 8. Three days later, Monterey Superior Court Judge Robert O’Farrell made the temporary restraining order permanent for three years. Saunders, who represented himself at the hearing and wept through portions of it, was also ordered not to send harassing emails to any college staff or students.

But according to an email sent Oct. 14 by college counsel Steve Pearson, Saunders violated the restraining order by sending emails to college student Daniel Hollingsworth and Ana Toledo, an attorney retained by the school to investigate some of Saunders’ claims. Saunders emailed Hollingsworth, he says, to notify him he planned on calling him as a witness in a lawsuit he’s filing against the college.

“You have violated the court’s restraining order by communicating with Mr. Hollingsworth and Ms. Toledo,” Pearson wrote in an email Saunders forwarded to the Weekly. “We will be moving to have you held in contempt of the court’s order.”

Saunders claims Toledo and Hollingsworth are not listed on his restraining order, and sent the Weekly a copy of an email sent Sept. 27 in which Toledo contacted him regarding her investigation.

In a previous email, Pearson had suggested “respectfully” that Saunders reconsider sending emails to staff because of the restraining order. The pot grower responded, “Rescind the BS TRO Now, Dickhead!” Language of that kind can be found in many of Saunders’ communications with college officials.

Saunders, who was recently in the process of harvesting his marijuana plants and just announced plans to make hash oil, has dealt with restraining orders before: Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado sought one, unsuccessfully, after Saunders threatened on Facebook to knock Delgado in the teeth.

Saunders plans to run against Delgado for mayor in 2014 and supports a medical marijuana dispensary in the city – a proposition the mayor has shut down.  

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