Monday, December 5 2022

STAMFORD — Mayor Caroline Simmons’ husband is on his way to being one of Connecticut’s first cannabis growers, records show. But if his company gets final approval, Stamford won’t be where they settle.

Last week, a company partly owned by former state senator and current Stamford first gentleman, Art Linares, was announced as one of the limited liability companies sought by the Social Equity Council of state to receive a cultivation license. The 16 companies chosen by the state must still undergo background checks and review by consumer protection officials to gain final approval.

Linares owns a share of Connecticut Social Equity, the entity that received a license – through its involvement in Linares Faye LLC. State business records available from the Secretary of State’s office show Linares as one of three business partners alongside Southington-based mortgage broker Brian Faye and his father, Luis Arturo Linares.

Simmons and Linares have been married since 2017. Together, they welcomed their third child in January. But beyond her marriage to the city’s first female mayor, who is a former state representative, Linares launched her own career in business and politics.

Linares, a registered realtor, represented Connecticut’s 33rd District in the state Senate from 2013 to 2019. He also owns Linares Land Capital LLC, a private investment firm. Previously, he co-founded solar energy company Greenskies, which was acquired by another company in 2017.

Even though the company has obtained preliminary license approval through the state’s Social Equity Cultivator Program – intended to open the industry to communities disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis – Linares Faye n is not the so-called social equity candidate.

Van Scoy LLC and its principal officer Steve Van Scoy fulfill this role. The social equity partner of any growing operation must own at least 65% of the business. To have the Social Equity designation, a candidate must earn less than three times Connecticut’s average household income. The applicant must have either lived in a “disproportionately affected area” for at least five of the past 10 years or lived in a disproportionately affected area for at least nine years before turning 18.

“Art is the son of a Cuban immigrant who has found success as an entrepreneur and investor and sees this as an opportunity to pay for it by supporting a social equity candidate,” said Carter Johnson, consultant and gatekeeper. -speaker of Connecticut Social Equity. in a report. “Connecticut Social Equity LLC’s mission is to develop, create, and sell high-quality products in prime locations and to give back to their local community.”

As Van Scoy’s backer, Linares owns at least 5% of the company as defined by state law, Johnson said.

“Disproportionately affected areas” are census tracts with either a significant criminal conviction rate for drug offenses or an unemployment rate above 10%.

If Connecticut Social Equity receives final approval, “their facility will be in place within the time frame dictated by law,” 14 months after licensing, Johnson said. The company “is in talks to locate the grow facility in a disproportionately affected area in Connecticut outside of Stamford,” she added.

Faye did not respond to requests for comment. Simmons declined to comment on her husband’s affairs through a spokesperson.

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