As per their lease, the Morehouse’s were given three months’ time to remodel and begin operations, which cost thousands of dollars. Following this grace period, they paid their rent, on time every month leading up to April, the month of their highly publicized grand opening.
However, while the anticipation of their grand opening grew, so too did their concern for the potential future of their new operation. As the Covid restrictions began to lift and tourism and customer traffic began returning to normal all over the Hawaiian Islands, The Shops at Mauna Lani saw very little change.
Despite the looming pressure of a $240,000 lease, the My Nutra® company pressed forward with their planned grand opening. The business owners invested a large amount of money to advertise, hire hula dancers, live music, decorating, and a $15,000 hemp giveaway promotion.
Unfortunately, however, slow traffic would be the least of Brad and Vienna Morehouse’s concerns. While Vienna planned for the grand opening, Brad engaged in email exchanges with the leasing agent in hopes of acquiring a temporary rent reduction. This exchange led up to the day before the grand opening planned for April 15th of this year.
According to the emails, Mr. Morehouse held the leasing agent, Jeremy Hamilton accountable to his previous assertions that business had been slow earlier in the year due to Covid restrictions. Morehouse pointed out to him that several business owners in the strip mall had told him that the place was a “graveyard” before Covid-19 became a factor.
Billing himself as a leasing agent, Jeremy Hamilton is the CEO of a separate property management company, KJ3 Enterprises Inc. He is also a partner to Jonathan Larmore, the CEO of Arciterra LLC in other real estate ventures.
In the early-morning hours of April 14th, Morehouse also pointed out that his personal video surveillance system had recorded 30 to 110 people walking past his shop for an entire day throughout the week. Hamilton simply implied that Morehouse was blaming his own business shortcomings on the landlord.
This exchange resulted in Morehouse saying that he would likely have to vacate the premises within a month if he couldn’t get a rent reduction; and Hamilton responding that a reduction would be out of the question, but he would be on site the next day to discuss the matter in person.
Hamilton also commented, “We will enforce the lease rights, a document signed by you and guaranteed by your wife. Your incompetence does not excuse you from your obligations.”
According to Mr. Morehouse, he knew that the lease would likely be enforced as it was written. In addition, regardless of the email exchange with Hamilton, his lease stated, “all notices must be sent in writing to: Arciterra LLC”. Thus, the My Nutra® business owners, Brad and Vienna, went to their new shop later that morning, on April 14th to finish preparing for the following day’s grand opening.
Much to their dismay, when they arrived, they found a lock and chain on their door which had been placed there by the strip mall’s management office. Their business property and some of their personal belongings were locked inside with no way for them to get to it.
Upset, Mr. Morehouse went to the business office and exclaimed to the property manager, Mitch Green, “There is a chain on my door!” As quickly as he said this, Mr. Green’s dog, a Pitbull, lunged at and locked onto Morehouse’s leg. At the same time Mr. Green screamed, “Get out, you’re evicted!”
Morehouse fought off the dog attack until Mr. Green called his dog off. Immediately, Morehouse called 911 to report the dog bite. The paramedics took pictures of Morehouse’s leg and asked if Morehouse wanted to go to the hospital. He declined in favor of waiting for the police.
According to the police at their arrival, Brad Morehouse had the right to press charges against the dog’s owner Mr. Green. However, Morehouse states, “I was in emotional shock and just wanted to get into my business and wanted to handle that at the time.”
Being a legal tenant of The Shops at Mauna Lani, Morehouse assumed that the police department would force Mr. Green to allow him into his own shop. Officer Nagata, the police officer called to the site, told Morehouse that it was a civil matter that he could do nothing about.
Ironically, the same police officer, who claimed that Mr. Morehouse was facing a civil matter then allowed Green to give Morehouse a notice stating that he was criminally trespassing on the very property to which he paid to have the right to be on. Officer Nagata without a court order then escorted Mr. Morehouse away from the Shops at Mauna Lani, while his own personal property remained locked up.
The following day, April 15th, the scheduled grand opening of the My Nutra® store, video footage from inside the store shows that hundreds of people showed up only to find the business locked up. The Morehouse’s entire day was spent dealing with the embarrassment of what had happened, fielding phone calls, and explaining why there was no free product to giveaway.
On April 16, through email exchange with Mr. Hamilton, Morehouse was given the opportunity to get his personal computer, which was important to his online business, from his own business premises. To provide context, Morehouse recorded the event, which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9alRvUL2cA.
Morehouse arrived at his store at 1:00pm. Mitch Green opened the door and Blaine Rice, the chief operating officer of Arciterra LLC, the company that owns The Shops at Mauna Lani, walked into the My Nutra® store. When Morehouse asked him if he was one of the owners, he said arrogantly “I’m the only owner!” and then continued walking around the store in an intimidating manner with Mr. Morehouse following.
Rice was evidently unaware of the circumstance surrounding the My Nutra® store and asked twice, “Why haven’t you paid your rent?”
To which Morehouse responded, “I did pay rent!”
“Then why are we kicking you out?” Rice retorted.
“I don’t know. You tell me, why am I being evicted?” asked Morehouse.
Rice then replied with “Well, why don’t you get your sh*t and get the f*** out!” During most of the video, Rice walked around the store and never once looked at Mr. Morehouse during the quick exchange. After making the vulgar comment, he then walked out of the store.
At this point Mr. Morehouse tried to get his attention by saying “Sir, Sir, Sir!”, at which Rice quickly turned around. Morehouse then asked, “Why did you say I didn’t pay the rent?”
“I don’t know”, he said quickly. Then he went on to say, “because they don’t lock people out that pay rent and are good tenants…”
“The key is ‘good tenants’” interrupted property manager, Mitch Green, who was still standing in the doorway of the business.
Brad Morehouse was correct. His My Nutra® business had paid its obligations according to the lease, on time. While Morehouse claimed that he would be forced to violate his lease agreement with a stated time frame for purposes of negotiation, he never actually did so. In addition, the leasing agent, Jeremy Hamilton had informed him that the lease would be enforced in any case.
Therefore, the circumstance which caused the chain to be placed on the door was strictly a matter of personal attack on My Nutra. The owner’s behavior reflected that of a landlord who is accustomed to bullying his tenants. This is obviously the culture that has been adopted company-wide from the top ranks all property management levels. Mitch Green, who keeps an intimidating Pitbull dog in his business office, blatantly locked a customer out of his own business, based on a verbal disagreement, despite violating his own company’s contract.
This whole scenario was a complete nightmare for business owners of My Nutra®, but it was still not over. According to obtained emails, two days following the bullying incident, Mitch Green emailed the My Nutra® owners stating that they would be allowed to pick up their personal property the following day, if they agreed not to file a lawsuit against the property owners and sign a settlement and release. In fact, Morehouse created a settlement release and sent it to Mr. Green, which he emailed back and quote said, “We will accommodate your request to remove your personal items and inventory from suite 400 in furtherance of resolving this with a mutual termination and release”.
With thousands of dollars of product and equipment at stake, they jumped at the opportunity and arrived at the property, with two church volunteers, at 9:30 am, April 20, 2021. After approximately an hour and 45 minutes, Mitch Green entered the store and presented Brad Morehouse with a totally different settlement contract to sign.
Upon reading the document, Mr. Morehouse discovered that the property manager Mitch Green made two false statements in it. To begin with, Green claimed that the reason for the lease termination was due to a “physical and verbal confrontation with the manager of the landlord”. The second false statement alleged that Mr. Morehouse directed a friend to break the lock and chain so to gain access to his own property which resulted in damage to the premises.
Knowing that both statements were false, Mr. Morehouse became upset and exclaimed loudly, “This is a lie! Why would you lie Mitch? What a horrible thing to lie about!”
“You were violent to my dog”, Mr. Green replied.
“I will not sign that!”, said Morehouse, upset.
Mr. Morehouse was thinking if he did not sign the falsified statement, he would not be able to retrieve his own property. In other words, Mr. Morehouse was being threatened by the manager of Arciterra LLC.
Mr. Green then responded with, “Leave or I will call the police!”
At this point Mr. Morehouse and his helpers had managed to move approximately $35,000 worth of product and equipment outside of the store door to get it ready to load on a truck. In his own view he could not simply leave his inventory sitting outside for people to walk off with.
Standing outside, Morehouse said to Mitch Green, “You admitted that this contract is a lie, and you still want me to leave?”
Witnesses in the store saw Morehouse reenter the store and Mr. Green then called 911 and lied in front at least three people inside the location, “There is a trespasser on my property who is taking a TV!”
Approximately eight minutes passed and Officer Nagata, the same police officer who was called for the dog-bite incident a few days earlier, arrived, then immediately stated, “You are trespassing!”
Mr. Morehouse tried to explain that he had a document that showed his right to be on the property, but before he could finish the first sentence, he violently grabbed Mr. Morehouse, handcuffed him, and slammed his face to the ground. Video footage and eyewitnesses both corroborate this chain of events as stated.
After waiting several hours at the police station, Mr. Morehouse was fingerprinted and asked questions regarding what had happened. Eventually, the officer told Mr. Morehouse that Mitch Green confessed that he indeed had a right to be on the property. Nagata then told Brad Morehouse that he could not be charged and was free to go.
The following day, a lease termination document was placed on the front door of the My Nutra® store. This document had a different allegation compared to the document the day before.
This one, however, claimed that Morehouse made physical threats to the property manager on two separate occasions. In addition, it claimed that Morehouse physically abused the Pitbull belonging to the property manager. Once again, neither allegation was true, but the story changed from a physical attack known as an assault to only a threat of an attack. Much to the embarrassment of the My Nutra® business owners, returning customers would have seen the notice with the false allegations.
Subsequent email exchanges between Mr. Morehouse’s attorney and the Arciterra LLC attorney, would reveal yet a third version of events, which also falsely alleged physical violence by him. Through the entire debacle Mr. Morehouse never became physically violent with any person.
After Morehouse’s attorney and Arciterra LLC’s attorney ironed out details, the false statements were finally removed from the settlement and release contract. But Arciterra LLC is still engaged in coercion as the company refuses to allow the My Nutra® business owners to have their property back.
To this day, Mr. Morehouse has not been allowed to return to his shop. On the day of his arrest, he had only been able to obtain approximately 30% of his inventory. The rest will remain locked up in his former business unless he signs a falsified document that states that Morehouse violated the lease by admitting to physically threatening Mr. Green and attacking a pit bull.
THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN
What is so ironic about this coercion tactic is, Arciterra terminated the lease based on a falsified event that happened after the chain was put on the door. The reason for the lockout has never been mentioned.
Morehouse says that he is both horrified and disappointed at the entire experience. “All I wanted was a temporary reduction in rent. I had no idea it would lead to what actually happened!”, he said emotionally of the devastating chain of events.
“When I came to this state, I was amazed at how beautiful the islands are and how wonderful my wife and I have been treated by the people here”, stated Morehouse. “I was so excited to be here that I wanted to bring glory to the Hawaiian culture, so I bought the domain name ‘ProductOfHawaii.com’ and posted it on the side of our building. After all, our hemp is a product of this great Island.”
“Arciterra not only embarrassed the My Nutra® business name”, said Morehouse by posting on our store door the character-damaging public notice with its false accusations. “But, even worse, Mitch Green and his company embarrassed the ‘Product of Hawaii’ name as well.”
The My Nutra® owner is willing to take responsibility for his role stating, “I know that I was probably a little too passionate about the rent reduction,” said Morehouse as he reflected on the events. “But I was worried about the fact there was no traffic at the mall. I had no idea that I would be bullied by the owner and repeatedly lied about by his manager. And getting arrested and violently slammed on my face in front of my wife? I have never been more humiliated!”
According to the Morehouses, despite the character assassination, My Nutra® continues to maintain an online presence in search of a store front with which it can provide a face to the name. They say that losing almost three-quarters of their property has presented struggles they never planned for.
Prior to being locked out, they had shifted most of their online operations to the store itself in order to streamline their business. “We have families and children who depend on us, and it is difficult when you don’t have the tools and product to keep up with the needs!”, said Brad Morehouse, in a frustrated tone. Mr. Morehouses attorney claims the court system is backed up for over a year and approximately $48,000.00 worth of Hemp Paste will be thrown in the trash long before Mr. Morehouse gets a court date.
My Nutra® customers and other interested parties from around the world have expressed their backing for the Hemp Paste company. Several comments on the aforementioned YouTube video show overwhelming support and even encourage the Morehouses to file a lawsuit.
Mitch Green, the property manager of The Shops at Mauna Lani, refused to comment, when contacted via telephone, citing that the circumstance was “in litigation.”
For the record, Mitch Green changed his story three times. On April 14th, he told the police that Morehouse attacked his dog with no mention of an assault on Mr. Green. On April 21st, Mr. Green claimed on a settlement document that Mr. Morehouse attacked him. Then on April 24th came the termination notice claiming that it was a threat and no mention of a physical attack. All documented claims were signed by the attorney Todd Tuggle, who personally works for Arciterra.
As of the time of this article’s publication, several attempts were made to contact Jonathan Larmore, CEO of Arciterra LLC; Blaine Rice, COO of Arciterra LLC, who was recorded bullying Mr. Morehouse on the YouTube video; and leasing agent, Jeremy Hamilton of KJ3 Enterprises Inc. of Richmond, IN. Neither person or corporate entity responded to emails and telephone calls.