Genius Fund: Inside Marijuana Company's Russian Origins - Rolling Stone
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The Oligarch and the Marijuana Fund

Dima Bosov brought millions of dollars from Russia to California, thinking the emerging cannabis industry would be a safe bet for easy money. He was wrong.

Dmitry “Dima” Bosov seemed relaxed at his compound in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas. The Russian billionaire was clad in Rainbow sandals and a RipnDip T-shirt as he greeted executives from his latest venture, a cannabis company called Genius Fund. Heavy security patrolled the property’s perimeter, belying the Russian oligarch’s laid-back demeanor. “There were ten dudes with assault rifles around an Olympic-sized infinity pool,” recalls one employee who was there to give a presentation to Bosov and other Genius execs. “Like a mini militia.”

It was December 2019, and Bosov had summoned his team to the resort to reorganize the leadership of the company he’d financed with over $160 million of his fortune. Started in 2018, Genius Fund had been envisioned as a vertically integrated cannabis company that would own its supply chain, creating products to sell at its own dispensaries.

Bosov was the sole investor in Genius Fund, which had launched the previous fall under the leadership of two young tech entrepreneurs, Ari Stiegler and Gabriel Borden, who told Bosov they could help him build a weed empire in California. “Dmitry came to America with this beautiful vision of making one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis businesses,” says Stiegler.

At the meeting in Cabo, Bosov introduced his associate Gary “Igor” Shinder, announcing that Shinder would join Genius Fund as an advisor. On March 26th, 2020, just three months later, Shinder laid off the entire staff. Around the same time, Genius Fund shuttered its flagship store on Melrose Avenue and ceased operations, less than two years after its inception.

The company might have been overlooked as another expensive weed venture going belly-up. But a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed a month later, on April 24th, attracted notice: The company’s former head of security-turned-CEO, Francis J. Racioppi, alleged “a sordid tale of corporate mismanagement, subterfuge, and fraud.” Within weeks, Bosov would be dead.


California currently has the
biggest legal marijuana market in the world, with an estimated $4.4 billion in sales in 2020. The foundations for the state’s colossal cannabis market were laid in the 1960s, when hippie growers settled into remote pockets in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle; in the 1970s and 1980s, the marijuana legalization movement gained steam in San Francisco, largely propelled by Dennis Peron, a gay activist who supplied cannabis to AIDS patients. Peron co-authored Proposition 215, which was approved by voters in 1996, making California the first state to allow medical cannabis use. Though the quasi-legal market was widely unregulated, it had a supply chain, established brands, and hundreds of delivery services, especially in the Los Angeles area.

In January of 2018, California ushered in adult-use legalization — but many legacy cannabis growers and small business owners entering the legal market struggled, due to exorbitant taxes and strict regulations. The illicit market thrived. Add in the difficulties weed growers and sellers already have — raising capital, accessing basic banking services like depositing money or accepting credit card payments — and you’re left with a patchwork industry in 37 states that’s difficult to navigate at best. Private equity firms have raised millions to acquire California cannabis companies, while old-school growers and activists who fought to make weed legal struggle to retain a foothold in the industry. “The money guys never respect the cannabis guys,” says one industry professional. “And [we] definitely don’t respect the money guys.”

Still, investors from the U.S. and abroad have moved in to fill the void created by the lack of access to traditional banking, and foreign financiers, many of them Russian, are shaping the nascent weed industry’s growth. One of America’s richest cannabis companies, Curaleaf, is led by one of Russia’s most influential investors. The links between Moscow and California cannabis were exposed in a 2019 series by the Sacramento Bee investigating Ukrainian-born Andrey Kukushkin, who is a partner in multiple cannabis operations in Sacramento. Kukushkin was indicted by a federal grand jury, along with two associates of Rudy Giuliani, in a scheme to use Russian money to support politicians who could potentially help them get retail cannabis licenses.

Dmitry Bosov was another uber-wealthy Russian seeking investment opportunities in the U.S. Bosov graduated from Bauman Moscow State Technical University in 1991 and started his first company with classmates selling computers. He built his fortune in Russian aluminum and coal-mining during the bloody “aluminum wars” under the Boris Yeltsin administration in the 1990s, mainly through his ownership of Sibanthracite Group, a Siberian conglomerate that claims to be the largest producer of metallurgical coal in Russia, and the world’s leading exporter of ultra high-grade anthracite, or “black diamond” coal. He also co-owned other coal enterprises, including Vostok Coal and its subsidiary Arctic Mining Company, which were fined 600 million rubles (roughly $9.5 million at the time) for illegal mining on the remote Taymyr Peninsula in Russia’s Great Arctic State Nature Reserve. Bosov landed on the Forbes “Billionaires List” for the first time in 2020 with an estimated $1.1 billion net worth.

The 52-year-old, thrice-married father of five reportedly played ice hockey with Vladimir Putin and was a main sponsor of Putin’s amateur Night Hockey League, which brings together some of Russia’s most powerful and influential figures to hobnob on ice. He is rumored to have done business with his friend Mikhail Abyzov, a former Russian cabinet minister who was arrested in 2019 for allegedly embezzling about $61 million from a Siberian energy distribution company. (He has pleaded not guilty; the case is ongoing.) At the time of his death, Bosov was set to testify against an ex-partner named Anatoly Bykov, who was arrested for allegedly ordering contract hits on his enemies. He had also recently dismissed his partner in Vostok Coal company, Aleksandr Isayev, for purported “egregious abuse” of his position and embezzlement.

Not much is known about Bosov’s motivation to transition from coal to cannabis, but in 2018 — the banner year of legal weed in California — Mikhail Abyzov’s son Danny Abyzov arranged for Bosov to meet with Borden, a college classmate of his from Loyola Marymount University, and Stiegler. A former colleague of Stiegler’s, who asked that we not use his name, claims that the meeting with Bosov was arranged to discuss investing in a private equity fund and that Stiegler and Borden suggested Bosov invest in cannabis instead.

Stiegler, now 29 and Borden, 27, first met when they were in college — Stiegler attended USC — hustling as brand ambassadors for the ride-share company Lyft. They reconnected a few years after graduating, bonding over their shared interest in cryptocurrency. Stiegler brought Borden on as an advisor at a cryptocurrency exchange company, then called Samsa Technologies Inc., which he’d co-founded with another friend in 2017.

Sept. 13, 2014 - Russian Federation - ITAR-TASS: MOSCOW, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 11, 2014. Alltech Group president Dmitry Bosov competets in an ice hockey friendly between Legendy Khokkeya, a Russian All-Star Team, and Menora, a Moscow Jewish community team, at Luzhniki Ice Arena. (Credit Image: © Artyom Korotayev/ITAR-TASS/ZUMA Wire)

Dmitry Bosov competes in a friendly ice-hockey game at Luzhniki Ice Arena in 2014.

© Artyom Korotayev/ITAR-TASS/ZUMA

Neither Stiegler nor Borden had any experience in the cannabis industry, but Stiegler’s former colleague says he constantly talked about it. “I don’t think he was a ‘weed guy,’ but he was definitely into the cannabis opportunities,” he says.

Stiegler says otherwise. “I always thought it was an interesting industry, but it wasn’t like I was planning on doing this,” he says. He claims that it was Bosov’s idea to start a weed venture: “He basically said, like, ‘Hey, how would you guys build a cannabis empire for me?” The foundation of the startup is murky, beyond Stiegler’s characterization of their initial conversation, but Bosov promised a substantial investment following that meeting, and Genius Fund was born.

Like so many with outlandish dreams, Bosov uprooted his life and moved to Los Angeles. He bought an opulent 15,000 square foot Beverly Hills mansion for $30 million (real estate website Dirt.com described it as “a decent impersonation of a baroque cathedral”) and moved in with his wife Katerina and their toddler daughter. Katerina, who has been labeled a fashionista in the press, graduated from Kutafin Moscow State Law University with a law degree and was the commercial director at Sibanthracite Group, where she was responsible for the company’s sales and logistics.

According to the lawsuit filed against him by the company’s ex-CEO, Bosov insisted on exerting complete control over all aspects of Genius Fund and oversaw day-to-day operations. “Pretty much every major decision was made directly by Dmitry,” asserts Stiegler, who served as CEO and CFO, along with Borden, who was named secretary. (Borden did not respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment.) Danny Abyzov was also made managing partner, along with a Russian friend of Bosov’s named Andrey Pirumov. An image of execs from the Genius Fund website in August 2018 shows a seven-person, all-male leadership team.

When reached by phone, Stiegler was eager to tout the vision that he and Borden shared with Bosov while distancing himself from any responsibility for the company’s failure. (His eponymous website has no mention of Genius Fund.) “As Dima had ideas, we would go and do them for him,” Stiegler says. “He wanted a dispensary. He wanted a hemp farm. He wanted brands. So we built all these different pieces of the vertical — as he wanted.”

The group initially worked out of two apartments in Venice Beach, but they soon upgraded to an airy 13,000 square foot, three-story office building in Culver City, complete with a Tesla Supercharger station in the parking lot.

Genius Fund grew quickly as Stiegler and Borden hired employees from well-known cannabis companies, along with friends and associates of theirs from college, many of whom had no experience in the weed industry. Salaries and perks were lavish, former employees say. A company document lists a salary of $195,000 for the director of network and technology — well above the $102,000 median listed for similar positions on the jobs website Glassdoor. One sales rep who was lured to Genius Fund from a high-profile cannabis brand says he was promised a company car by his recruiter, who told him, “They’ve got a shit ton of money; they’re moving fast.”

During the early days of the startup, with millions in investor funds, Genius execs lived like rock stars, employees say. Bosov frequently summoned Stiegler and Borden to meet him in the seaside resort towns of Forte Dei Marmi in Italy, and Cabo San Lucas, at the compound one former staffer describes as James Bond-esque. “It was insane,” he says. “Theatrical. You’re like, what? This type of living exists?”

Amid his jet-set surroundings, Bosov was low-key, even schlubby, often sporting a fanny pack and T-shirt. “He was an extravagant guy,” Stiegler says, “but he didn’t look like what you would imagine a billionaire to look like.”

After the heady rush of the founding, things began to change at Genius Fund. In April of 2019, the company hired Francis J. Racioppi, Jr. as chief security officer. Racioppi, a former U.S. Special Forces officer, was a straight-laced ex-military man, and an odd fit for a cannabis industry job, says a former Genius Fund consultant: “Fran was straight up like any movie you’ve ever seen where they secure the perimeter. Standing at attention, flat-top.” Other employees describe the tall, square-jawed Racioppi as intimidating and standoffish. However, his special forces background appealed to Stiegler, who gave Racioppi a base salary of $350,000 and hiring authority. Why Genius Fund hired Racioppi is unclear. He had been fired from his position as director of global security at Snap Inc. in late 2018, following an investigation into an alleged affair with a contractor. (At the time, he denied wrongdoing and said he would challenge the investigation.)

According to coworkers, Racioppi quickly brought in former colleagues from Snap Inc., and his time in the military, many at base salaries well over the industry average. Michael O’Dowd, a Naval Special Warfare veteran, was hired as director of consumer operations with an annual base salary of $160,000 and a guaranteed 15 percent annual bonus. Glassdoor estimates the average salary for a similar position at $96,000. One anonymous employee review of Genius Fund on Glassdoor said that “leadership is a total joke.” Another declared, “toxic partners [are] poisoning a pool of good talent.”

Over the next several months, Racioppi filled several management positions and installed a team of six security specialists. According to company documents, the reported total base salary expenses for his hires added up to over $2.6 million. An internal memo detailing his hires points out that Genius Fund and its affiliates “did not have revenues in excess of $2.6 million at the time that these hires were made.”

According to Racioppi’s lawsuit, during this period, “Millions of dollars were spent on ostensible company investments with virtually nonexistent oversight or accountability, and the company lacked any coherent business plan to generate either short- or long-term profit.”

Racioppi began accompanying Stiegler and Borden when they flew to meet with Bosov, who left the U.S. with his wife for good in May 2019 after their visas were rescinded following multiple United States government investigations, according to the lawsuit. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy alert warning foreigners against violating federal cannabis law, effectively blocking them from involvement in the state-legal cannabis industry. It was right around this time that Bosov’s visa was reportedly canceled. Russian media also reported in April 2019 that Bosov’s company was under investigation by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for his involvement in the Vostok Coal illegal mining operation. Despite the turmoil, employees say, Bosov continued to invest in Genius Fund and run the company from abroad.

Stiegler says that Bosov’s absence made things tough. “It was hard to communicate. Making investment approvals, decisions, was difficult,” he says. “And it turned into a bunch of internal politics as opposed to straight business.”

Racioppi quickly rose to an executive rank at Genius Fund and was promoted to chief operating officer in October 2019. In his new role, Racioppi had access to company finances, and, according to the lawsuit he filed after he was fired, he soon uncovered “gross mismanagement.”

Bosov was enabling the mismanagement by infusing the venture with cash through an assortment of shell companies, Racioppi’s lawsuit claimed, “repeatedly dumping millions of dollars into the company without requiring any type of accountability from company management or executives as to how the money was being spent.”

Genius Fund was struggling to generate revenue as execs spent money with “reckless abandon,” Racioppi said in his lawsuit. One executive allegedly purchased desks, computers, and monitors for over 50 potential employees who hadn’t yet been hired. Other excessive purchases named in the suit include same-day business class one-way plane tickets, Teslas and Escalades, and daily lunches that cost in excess of $1,500, as well as personal items for Bosov, including surfboards and a Gita robot.

In contrast to Racioppi’s allegations, Stiegler says that as the only investor, Bosov was entitled to spend his money however he liked: “If one of the things he decided to do with his money is to make me and Fran and Gabe hop on an airplane and fly to Italy to have a meeting with him, and it’s a 15-hour flight, you know, we’re going to buy a business ticket.” He also says that the $1,500 lunches were for the staff of Genius Fund, “like 70 employees.”

A former employee, however, agrees with Racioppi’s assertions of overspending. “We could start to see all the layers of how disorganized the company was, and how irresponsible with money they really were,” he says. “If it looked cool — ‘Let’s buy it, we don’t care how much it is.'”

Anonymous posts by supposed Genius employees on Glassdoor seem to support both sides. One review says “free breakfast and lunch” was a perk of the job. Another says the “lack of any oversight since the people at the top barely even work” could be considered a ‘pro.’

The interior of the Genius store on Melrose.

The interior of the GEN!US store on Melrose.

Genius Fund planned to position the empire Bosov dreamed of at “the intersection of legacy and modern cannabis,” proclaimed an August 2019 press release announcing the launch of the company’s luxury cannabis brand GEN!US, along with the flagship store on Melrose Avenue. Creative director Andrey Pirumov was touted as the company’s co-founder, alongside a 25-year-old CEO named Chris Clifford, who was overseeing the GEN!US THC and CBD product lines. (Clifford declined to comment for this article and has since scrubbed Genius Fund from his LinkedIn page.)

Part of the mission of GEN!US, according to the press release, was to “veer away from stoner culture.” The enormous retail storefront — designed by GRAYmatter Architecture, a Santa Monica firm owned by Genius executive Gabriel Borden’s mother Melinda Gray — raised eyebrows in the Los Angeles cannabis community. Facebook videos for the store featured stylish young female employees proclaiming their “knowledge-based background” of cannabis. Despite — or perhaps because of — the store’s high-end atmosphere, reviews were middling. A branding consultant says, “It wasn’t the nicest [dispensary]. It just cost the most to make.”

That wasn’t exactly the vibe many cannabis buyers in the neighborhood were going for. Less than a mile away from the GEN!US store, the Cookies Melrose dispensary — a brand run by Bay Area hip-hop artist Berner — does brisk business as a “stoner culture” brand, with lines often forming down the block. MedMen’s nearby store, on Santa Monica Boulevard, markets itself as a comfortable experience for inexperienced weed buyers, and has attempted to forge a marriage between the outlaw roots of cannabis culture and hungry venture capitalists. (MedMen execs stepped down last year after the multi-state company lost 95 percent of its value).

GEN!US, however, wanted to move away from stoner culture entirely, catering to the high-end cannabis connoisseur, while seemingly not understanding what that customer would want. It charged more for its products than other stores in the area. It enforced a policy that required shoppers to remove their hats so they could be captured on security cameras. That, in particular, was a red flag for Rama Mayo, co-founder of the cannabis branding agency Green Street, who interviewed as a marketing consultant for Genius Fund in January of 2020. Mayo says he cautioned Racioppi that the store’s overzealous security was a bad move for a business trying to position itself for that particular part of West Hollywood. “I was like, guys, we’re on Melrose,” says Mayo. “It’s the fashion spot of the city. You can’t have people take their hats off. These dudes are never gonna come back in their life.”

The company was out of touch in other ways, too. Industry veterans Michael Garganese and Lincoln Barnett, who were hired to curate a portfolio of cannabis brands for GEN!US, say that management tried to implement sales plans from the corporate sector that didn’t translate to the cannabis industry. “A lot of time was wasted with crazy orders and ‘efficiencies and processes,” Barnett says. “There were people brought in from blue-collar corporate jobs trying to implement 30-year-old sales strategies that don’t translate to the industry that we’re in. And that’s because the people running the ship had zero experience in cannabis.”

Former Genius Fund VP of operations Marti Dyquiangco, who was dubbed ‘Cannabis Jesus’ by his bosses, says that execs were transparent about their lack of weed knowledge, yet confident that they were pioneering a new era. “They wanted to merge legacy with corporate,” he says. “So that we could merge together and create a whole new industry.”

Although Stiegler and Borden had hired some people with cannabis-industry experience, a Genius Fund industrial hemp operation in Northern California called Nature’s Holiday was headed up by “two young city kids” with zero agricultural experience, former employees told dot.LA. The farm was supposed to supply industrial hemp for the GEN!US CBD product line.

When local authorities visited the initial site of the Sierra Valley hemp farm in April 2019, they were met by two armed guards carrying automatic handguns with scopes. Sheriff Greg Hagwood testified at a Plumas County Board of Supervisors meeting that, when detectives approached the security guards, the guards showed fake IDs and paperwork, falsely identifying themselves as law enforcement.

Hagwood said county officials discovered several other violations at the hemp farm. Building materials had been hauled in, underground piping and wiring were being installed, multiple greenhouses had been built, and trees had been cut down — all without permits. “It demonstrates a flagrant disregard for accounting for rules or regulations or building codes,” Hagwood told the board. “To engage in something this flagrant speaks to a frame of mind… and I find it unacceptable.”

Partly in response to the violations at the Nature’s Holiday farm, Hagwood proposed an urgent moratorium on hemp growing in Plumas County, deeply angering local hemp farmers. “I’m mad, angry, and I’m scared,” third-generation Sierra Valley rancher Rick Roberti said of the potential shutdown. The measure was narrowly defeated in a vote by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors.

Things were also going downhill at the Genius Fund office in Los Angeles. Stiegler was accused of making demeaning comments about women by multiple former business colleagues, according to reporting by dot.LA. One former coworker recounts an incident in which a female colleague found what appeared to be a scheduled hookup with a “hot Swedish chick” on Stiegler’s work calendar. He says Stiegler boasted about her discovery, telling friends he’d “triggered” her with tales of his hot hookups. (When asked for comment, Stiegler denied the story through a spokesperson.)

Another female coworker claims Racioppi was the key contributor to a toxic office culture. She cites the experience of a female executive assistant who was asked to accompany Racioppi and his all-male security team on a two-week excursion to Cabo San Lucas in December 2019. During the trip, she would later say, she was asked to wear a dress and encouraged to drink excessively at club outings, including one to a strip club. When the assistant returned to Los Angeles, she made a written statement to the company documenting the trip, saying that she felt taken advantage of by Racioppi. In the statement, reviewed by Rolling Stone, she writes, “My work environment and coworkers including Fran Racioppi were causing me serious emotional and mental anxiety. The atmosphere at the workplace was very uncomfortable for me.”

There were also reported incidents of small-time weed smuggling. Stiegler was arrested in Mexico on a visit to meet Bosov, with “three, four joints in a bag” in a side pocket of his backpack, he told dot.LA. (He declined to comment on the matter for Rolling Stone.) And according to Racioppi’s lawsuit, an employee flew to Italy to deliver a sample of GEN!US weed to Bosov, despite Racioppi’s objections that transporting cannabis internationally constituted a serious criminal offense; he says he later learned the transport was arranged anyway.

dmitry bosov cabo san lucas compound

Bosov’s compound in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

In December 2019, Bosov summoned Stiegler, Borden, and Racioppi to Cabo San Lucas and introduced them to Gary Shinder. At the meeting in Cabo, Bosov told Stiegler and Racioppi that they were to function as co-CEOs from then on, and that Shinder would oversee Genius Fund as an advisor.

After that, Genius Fund seemingly began to unravel. Several employees were let go when they returned to Los Angeles from Mexico. Racioppi claimed in his lawsuit that, in his new capacity as unofficial co-CEO, he tried to implement policies that would make the fund profitable, but that his concerns were ignored; with little to no revenue, he said, the company’s cash flow diminished to virtually zero.

In January 2020, the Melrose Avenue store was robbed after the security guard left for the night, despite having foiled two attempts earlier in the evening. “How do you have military people and get robbed?” an insider with knowledge of the events asks.

Racioppi said in the suit that he finally managed to make Genius Fund’s dire financial situation clear to Bosov in February 2020. He claimed that Bosov directed him to implement a reorganization plan, with Shinder overseeing the restructuring. After a second round of company-wide layoffs in late February 2020, Racioppi was installed as the company’s sole chief executive officer on March 5. According to his lawsuit, his contract outlined an annual base salary of $700,000, a $300,000 signing bonus, and a guaranteed bonus of no less than $350,000 a year.

Almost immediately after he took over as CEO, Racioppi claimed, Bosov and Shinder’s real plan to sideline him and hijack the business became apparent when Bosov transferred ownership and control of Genius Fund to the Earth Solar System Milky Way, LLC, which, according to the lawsuit, listed Shinder as sole owner. Racioppi said Shinder immediately began carrying out a wholly different reorganization, giving himself complete control over the company and cutting Racioppi out of all executive-level decision making.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States in March 2020, most cannabis businesses were declared essential, along with grocery and liquor stores. Even so, Genius Fund shut down on March 26th when Shinder issued a directive firing all existing staff, purportedly because Covid-19 had disrupted business.

Racioppi filed his lawsuit on April 24th, 2020, claiming that Bosov and Shinder used the pandemic as a smokescreen to squeeze him out for sounding the alarm about fraud, drug smuggling, and mismanagement at the company. He said he’s owed more than $1 million for his work with Genius Fund, according to the terms of his employment agreement.

Shinder denied Racioppi’s assertion that he was laid off, stating in court documents that it would have made no sense to enter into an employment agreement only to terminate it three weeks later. He said he had a conversation with Racioppi following the directive, during which Racioppi “asked me repeatedly whether he was being terminated.” Shinder claimed that he assured him he was not.

As the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across Europe, a nervous Bosov sequestered himself in his Moscow apartment, telling friends to “stay home or die,” the Daily Mail reported. He kept a gun with him during lockdown, believing the pandemic would lead to rampant crime, and fearing home intrusion.

On May 6th, Bosov’s wife Katerina found him dead in his home gymnasium, with a gunshot wound to the head. A Glock pistol was found next to his body. Russian officials investigated his death as a suicide or accident, but two of Bosov’s adult sons from a previous marriage have alleged foul play. Speaking to Forbes Russia, Bosov’s father Boris said, “The majority of family members… confidently believe that there was a murder, not a suicide.”

Bosov’s family and his former coworkers mourned him in an outpouring of tributes on the Alltech Group website. “Having reached great heights in business, he retained the core, charisma, freedom, the freedom to be yourself,” Katerina wrote in Russian. “Tiger cub, I miss you.”

Less than a month after Bosov’s death, Katerina Bosov was nominated to become head of the board of directors for Sibanthracite Group, and staked a claim to over half of her late husband’s share in the Alltech group. Bosov’s mother and four sons from his two previous marriages sued to stop her. One Russian writer dubbed the battle for Bosov’s coal inheritance a “Siberian Soap Opera.” Katerina ultimately lost her bid for the majority of Bosov’s estate; a court decision this February redistributed Bosov’s Alltech shares equally among his heirs including his parents, four sons, and his and Katerina’s toddler daughter.

The big-money dream of the weed empire that Ari Stiegler and Gabriel Borden promised they would build is now in ashes, and $164 million later, Genius Fund is all but defunct. Stiegler has hired a public relations firm and refutes all accusations of mismanagement or wrongdoing. Borden, who was never high-profile, has stayed out of the public eye. And many former Genius employees have scrubbed the company from their resumes and social media.

Meanwhile, Racioppi continued to push for his million-dollar payout through legal filings against Genius Fund, naming Katerina Bosov as defendant after her husband’s death, along with Gary Shinder and a host of shell companies. Last October, Racioppi accused the defendants of surreptitiously selling real estate and other assets in a “shocking and brazen violation” of court orders. Katerina Bosov countered with a motion to compel arbitration of Racioppi’s lawsuit, which accused Racioppi of taking “great pains to paint himself as a naïve employee who was tricked into relinquishing his right to litigate in court by a sophisticated employer.” In April of this year, a confidential settlement was reached, and Racioppi dropped his suit. The amount of the settlement is unknown.

Today, the Genius Fund website is a simple landing page that says, “Genius Fund is a private equity fund focused on breakthrough industries.” The only contact information for the company is an email address. On Melrose Avenue, a mural of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna adorns the shuttered Gen!us storefront. One mile west at the Cookies dispensary, cannabis sales — and stoner culture — are thriving.

 

If you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. You can also reach the  Crisis Text Line.by texting TALK to 741741.

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