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BREAKING: JT Burnette, Husband of Trulieve CEO, Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Extortion

A decision was finally made in the groundbreaking extortion case against JT Burnette, the husband of Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. For his role in a bribery ring, which included Halsey Beshears and Burnette's long-time friend and then-Tallahassee commissioner Scott Maddox, JT Burnette was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison and fined $1.25 million. In a series of text messages and undercover wire taps, the prosecution detailed how Burnette would use his personal and political relationships to gain and unfair advantage over his competition. One of the examples the prosecution used was how Burnette worked with Republican state legislator Halsey Beshears to create barriers of entry in the medical marijuana industry while the legislation was being created in 2015. These "barriers" restricted competitors from entering the medical marijuana market. While these barriers were created, Beshears-owned Simpson Nurseries teamed up with 2 other nurseries to apply for Florida's first medical license. This group of nurseries eventually renamed themselves Trulieve, and they are now the largest cannabis company in the nation. Burnette's construction business "worked" with Trulieve, which his wife is the CEO of, for site deals that have receipts of over $100 million in the last 3 years. Oh, and Halsey Beshear's brother sits on Trulieve's Board of Directors, making this political manipulation a benefit for Beshears and Burnette.

JT Burnette worked in real estate and had many business ties to cities and commissioners. Burnette worked with then-Tallahassee commissioner Scott Maddox and both were sentenced for extortion, fraud, and bribery. Burnette admitted on recording that he and his wife, Kim Rivers, didn't know anything about growing marijuana when applying and that politics heavily influenced their rise as industry giants. Trulieve has continuously defended Rivers and the role Trulieve may have played in Burnette's extortion case, stating "The Trulieve Board of Directors understands today is a deeply personal and private moment for our CEO Kim Rivers. Our thoughts are with her at this time. She has done and is doing an outstanding job leading Trulieve and she continues to have our full support." The Board of Directors also noted that Burnette wasn't involved in the creation of Trulieve and has never represented the company in any way. Regardless, this looks incredibly bad for Trulieve and you can bet they will try to keep this issue out of the public's eye.


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