|Photo: Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times
|“I am a wolf”: Emiel Kandi, 34, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lending industry with few consumer protections. Now he’s in the medical marijuana business.
Operating Cobra Medical Group, a medical marijuana dispensary in Tacoma, Washington, isn’t Emiel Kandi’s only business. The former mini-casino operator also charges desperate people as much as he can get away with — up to 45 percent interest, in one case — in deals set up so that he can quickly take borrowers’ homes, and in some cases, flip them for a profit.
Unsophisticated borrowers trying to avoid financial collapse or foreclosure then lose their property, reports Christine Williamson of The Seattle Times
. “I am a wolf,” Kandi, 34, said to the paper.
“He’s in the business of taking people’s property,” said Martin Burns, a lawyer who sued Kandi on behalf of an unemployed mechanic. “He finds vulnerable people and exploits them.”
“I’m not your friend,” Kandi said. “If you step off the tightrope, I’ll take your house.”
A Seattle Times examination of numerous Kandi loan deals showed that they take advantage of lax regulations in the lending industry, which provide little protection for consumers.
Kandi knows this, and skirts mortgage requirements and disclosures by writing up his loans as “commercial,” the Times reports. Mortgages have interest-rate caps, consumer protections and full disclosure of all costs, while commercial loans do not.