Grafstein reflects on new role as mayor of Madison Heights

MADISON HEIGHTS — Meet the new mayor of Madison Heights.

Previously the mayor pro tem, Roslyn Grafstein has now been appointed to the partial term vacated by Brian Hartwell when he became judge of Hazel Park 43rd District Court. Her appointment comes nearly two months after Hartwell resigned, and roughly halfway through one of the craziest years in recent memory, with a global pandemic continuing to put much of society on lockdown.

But for Grafstein, a first-term council member first elected in November 2017, things got busy prior to the pandemic, when a bright green liquid seeped onto Interstate 696 late last year.

The liquid was contaminated groundwater laced with cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, and the source was Electro-Plating Services (EPS), a shuttered factory overlooking the freeway.

Hartwell, the mayor at the time, was out of town on an extended trip, so his duties fell on Grafstein, then the mayor pro tem. She quickly became the face of the city’s response to a disaster that drew national attention. The city worked with county, state and federal agencies to contain the mess and ensure its cleanup. The city’s drinking water was never at risk of being compromised, but it nonetheless put people on edge, and they had questions.

“Residents, press and other elected officials were looking to me for answers,” Grafstein said. “The first council meeting I chaired was a special meeting under the glare of three TV cameras. Because of my level of involvement with this situation, even after the mayor returned, I stayed active with the EPS situation, speaking up at the weekly updates to keep focus on the site.”

Then, just before the pandemic broke out in the spring, Grafstein found herself at the center of controversy when her home address appeared on a list of potential claimants for a class action lawsuit against the city seeking damages from the flood of 2014.

She said that she was added to this lawsuit without her knowledge or consent prior to her joining council. She has since resolved this potential conflict of interest, signing an affidavit last month where she and her husband agreed to forgo any payout from a potential settlement in the case.

Now the world is in the midst of a global pandemic, and Grafstein finds herself helping the city navigate turbulent times where businesses struggle to stay solvent and many remain unemployed.   

She also finds herself making history as the first female mayor the city has had in more than 40 years. The last female mayor was Virginia Solberg in the mid-1970s.

Grafstein’s rapid ascent in local politics is also notable in that she’s originally from out of town, having moved to Madison Heights from Toronto in 2004. The same year, she was wed to her husband at Madison Heights City Hall, in a ceremony officiated by then-Mayor Ed Swanson, who has since passed away. The couple now has two teens who currently attend Lamphere High School.

Grafstein herself is a business consultant with an economics degree, and a chartered financial analyst with more than 20 years of experience in the finance industry. She stays busy between her profession and her family, but she also has been diligent in attending workshops and forums to stay informed on issues facing the city. She said that hearing from residents has inspired her.

“For almost three years I have taken the opportunity to represent the city and council at various activities and events,” Grafstein said. “These experiences were important to my decision in asking for support from my fellow council members to serve as the appointed mayor until November 2021.”

The City Council had been divided in how to approach the situation of Hartwell’s replacement, with several options available to them. Had they not chosen one of the current council members to serve the remainder of Hartwell’s term as mayor, then one option would have been to vacate his seat and hold a special election in May 2021, which would have cost the city $20,000.

Grafstein felt this was impractical.

“It was not logical for me (as mayor pro tem) to chair the meetings, sign documents and handle other mayoral tasks for close to a year, then have a special election, at which point someone else would step in for potentially only six months,” Grafstein said. “Our residents elected council to look out for their best interests and to follow our charter even under unique circumstances. Council appointed me to be mayor because they felt it was the best decision for the city.”

She said that the mayor and council have one employee — the city manager, Melissa Marsh — and that she has faith in Marsh and her administrative staff. The mayor and council, meanwhile, focus on directing policy and performing ceremonial duties. The mayor leads meetings, but is largely identical in function to a regular council member, with no veto power.

“As for policy, my goal continues to be guiding the city with strategies that will provide economic opportunity for all our residents, while still affording the necessary funding for our emergency services and day-to-day operations,” Grafstein said. “We are experiencing a downturn in the economy, and as we prepare for this, we need to be more creative and flexible, looking for solutions outside the box.”

Grafstein recounted how in May, she requested that staff explore options for outdoor seating at restaurants in Madison Heights. The next meeting, the council approved an ordinance that assisted them with reopening and social distancing requirements.

“We need to encourage these types of solutions and look to other cities to see what solutions they have that we can duplicate or modify for our own purposes,” Grafstein said. “My priorities have always been and continue to be the safety and well-being of all our residents.”

She said that with local school districts opting for virtual classes for at least the first two months of the new school year, there will be a greater need for access to technology, food and safe havens outside the home. She said there will also be a ripple effect for parents who rely on schools as a form of childcare while they’re working during the day, and that this will force some parents to change jobs or seek new business opportunities. She expressed a desire to find ways to help them.  

As mayor, Grafstein is also on the board of the Downtown Development Authority, where she looks forward to working with the board’s Economic Vitality sub-committee.

“As we move forward into the new normal of COVID, we need to seize this opportunity to revitalize our DDA and promote ourselves to emerging and expanding businesses who want to see the city succeed,” Grafstein said.

The city is preparing updates to the master plan — its guiding document — and Grafstein said she will rely on input from residents, as well as research she has done through organizations such as the Michigan Municipal League and the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments.

“I view my appointment as mayor as an honor that I will seriously uphold,” Grafstein said. “I look forward to joining council as we work together to serve our residents. We each have our strengths to offer as we find solid and innovative ways to meet the challenges facing us in these unprecedented times.”

When asked for his thoughts on his successor, Hartwell expressed full confidence, and also shared some words of advice.

“Mayor Grafstein will succeed in completing my term as mayor if she focuses on problem-solving and community service,” Hartwell said. “I can think of many examples in her past that demonstrated her understanding of public service, from her time helping the schools, to cleaning up our parks and neighborhoods, to leading reforms at city hall, to supporting downtown growth and spurring industrial development, to attending regional conferences bringing home new ideas.

“During a crisis, we need a responsible, active and unifying leader, in and outside City Hall,” Hartwell concluded. “Roslyn will introduce her personality and ideas to the position, and I trust that she will use this opportunity to help others.”

First Appeared here https://www.candgnews.com/news/grafstein-reflects-on-new-role-as-mayor-of-madison-heights-118424

‘You Have To Know Who To Talk To!’ And Other Key Takeaways From The BZ Cannabis Hour

Anthony Noto , Benzinga Staff Writer   FOLLOW August 15, 2020 3:50pm   3 min read   Comments

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'You Have To Know Who To Talk To!' And Other Key Takeaways From The BZ Cannabis Hour

Cannabis business loans are extremely difficult to find. However, lending pros like Judy Rinkus are hustling every day to help entrepreneurs and early-stage startups achieve that next level of growth.

This week, Rinkus was a guest on the Benzinga Cannabis Hour (video embedded below).

Pot purveyors, at any stage of their career, would be wise to tune in and hear what she had to say.

‘We’re Very Busy’

When Michigan legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, Rinkus’ former borrowing clients called her up. 

“We want to invest in the industry [but] can’t find senior secured loans,” they told her. “We got the equity, but can’t find the other piece of the puzzle.”

On this week’s show, Rinkus recalls how she transitioned from a banking career — with the likes of FirstMerit, Bank of America and PNC Bank — to cannabis lender extraordinaire.

“Banks, for all intents and purposes, really aren’t lending into this industry,” she told me and fellow Benzinga Cannabis Hour host Patrick Lane.


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Since it passed in September 2019, the SAFE Banking Act has stalled in the Senate. Even if it goes through, “it’ll take a while” for banks to come around and begin lending to cannabis businesses, Rinkus predicts.

So, in the meantime, “you kind of have to know who to talk to,” she said. “And that’s where I come in.”

Her firm, Seed to Sale Funding, has done 10 transactions in the past year. They’ve ranged from $500,000 to $6 million, and she currently has over $100 million and 20 deals in the pipeline.

“So we’re very busy,” she said, citing 20 sources of secured debt, citing a bank and various private sources, including private funds, family offices and other backers that typically “fly under the radar.”

“It’s really been so much fun,” Rinkus said of the past 18 months. “I personally love learning about new industries and I love the idea of helping to create an industry — that’s like a once in a generation opportunity.”

Barrington Rutherford; Cresco Labs SVP, Real Estate & Community Integration

These days, it’s not enough for cannabis companies to just produce great products. One multi-state operator determined to do more is Cresco Labs Inc. (OTCQX: CRLBF).

Rutherford is at the helm of the company’s various initiatives when it comes to social justice and equity programs. 

“We have created the SEED Initiative, and we believe that this is the truly groundbreaking and most robust social equity program in the cannabis industry,” Rutherford said on this week’s show. 

Cresco supports restorative and social justice agencies, and programming that includes expungement events.

“The overarching goal of the SEED Initiative is to create tangible pathways for people who’ve been most negatively impacted by the war on drugs,” Rutherford added.

Other goals include creating onramps to the industry, diversifying workforces and helping communities access “the wealth that’s being created by the end of cannabis prohibition.”

Joe Caltabiano; Cannabis Entreprenuer, Co-Founder Cresco Labs

Caltabiano, who worked with Rutherford at Cresco, is now on the hunt for his next cannabis adventure.

After exiting the Chicago-based company in March, Caltabiano has been analyzing the space and looking for the perfect place to bring his expertise.

On the show, he discusses trends he’s seeing, the “next evolution” of MSOs and what cannabis companies should be aware of for the second half of 2020 and beyond. 


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originally published https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/20/08/17087400/you-have-to-know-who-to-talk-to-and-other-key-takeaways-from-the-bz-cannabis-hour

Finance Cannabis Projects In a Post Covid-19 World

How to Finance Cannabis Projects In a Post Covid-19 World

The Covid-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic consequences, is putting all businesses to the test. For cannabis entrepreneurs, this means that raising capital (never an easy task) has suddenly become even more challenging than it was only a month ago.

Many of our clients were relying on promises of capital injections which have now all but dried up. Of course, the recently announced SBA Paycheck Protection Program won’t work for cannabis businesses, since the industry is still federally illegal and is therefore banned from the Program.

There is good news, however. We work with a network of non-bank, private lenders who are still funding new transactions using non-dilutive debt capital. This will be particularly good news if, like many cannabis entrepreneurs, you’ve recently had equity sources back away from funding your new project. Borrowers must have hard assets, such as real estate or equipment, to use as collateral.

Here are some details on our programs:

Real estate loans from $500,000 to $3,000,000:  

  • Up to 70% loan to value
  • Rates up from 11-15%, non-dilutive
  • Points negotiable depending on loan specifics
  • Uses of proceeds: Includes construction, renovation, cash-out for working capital, and refinance
  • Available for all construction types, with hybrid greenhouses at lower advance rates
  • Available in any state where cannabis is legal
  • Full personal recourse to the ownership group, with some exceptions depending on the ownership structure

Real Estate Loans of $3,000,000 or more:

  • Up to 100% loan to cost (construction/renovation) or 75% loan to value on existing, completed buildings
  • Rates up from 9-15%, non-dilutive
  • Points negotiable depending on loan specifics
  • Uses of proceeds Includes construction, cash-out for working capital, and refinance
  • Available for all construction types, including hybrid greenhouses
  • Available in any state where cannabis is legal
  • Full personal recourse to the ownership group, with some exceptions depending on ownership structure

Equipment Loans and Leases:

  • $100,000 and up
  • Up to 100% of cost
  • Best for new purchases, but refinance or cash-out of existing equipment is available on a case by case basis
  • 8-15% for businesses with 3 years of adequate cash flow.  Rate are higher for newer companies
  • Available in any state where cannabis is legal
  • Full personal recourse to the ownership group, with some exceptions depending on the ownership structure

Please contact us, and let our team of experienced commercial lending officers walk you through the process.

Be Well and Stay Safe,

Judy, Nicole, Roslyn and Jeff

Seed To Sale Funding is a Troy, MI-based consulting firm that raises debt capital for all facets of the cannabis industry, including grow/cultivation, processing, testing, retail, and secured transportation, and craft/microbusinesses. Since bank loans are not readily available for the hemp and cannabis industry, we primarily work with a network of private sources ranging from wealthy investors, family offices, private lenders, and hard money lenders. We place loans nationally wherever cannabis is legal, including Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Alaska, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. Whether you are an owner of a single-location dispensary, a large multi-state operator, or anything in between, we have secured loans programs to suit your needs. Learn more at www.seedtosalefunding.com, or apply for financing here.

Seed To Sale Funding™ Places Cannabis Commercial Loans

Seed To Sale Funding™ Places Cannabis Commercial Loans Throughout the US

The cannabis industry continues to grow at record levels, employing and estimated 211,000 people last year. Retail sales for cannabis are expected top 30 Billion by 2025.  Entrepreneurs in the 35 states where cannabis is legal are experiencing a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capitalize on a high-growth industry that helps support their communities and well-being of its residents.

Seed To Sale Funding™ is proud to offer support for these far-sighted entrepreneurs.  Whether you are an owner of a single-location dispensary, a large multi-state operator, or anything in between, we have secured loans programs to fit your needs.

Highlights of our new national lending program are as follows:

  • Available wherever marijuana is legal, including the states of Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Alaska, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and throughout Canada.
  • Loans are typically secured by hard assets such as real estate or equipment.
  • Purchase order and invoice factoring is also available.
  • Applicants are subject to approval by the lender.
  • Brokers and investment banks welcome, we gladly share fees for the right deals.

About Seed To Sale Funding™: We are a consulting company that raises debt capital for all facets of the hemp and cannabis industry, including grow/cultivation, processing, testing, retail, and secured transportation. Since bank loans are not readily available for the hemp and cannabis industry, we primarily work with a network of private sources ranging from wealthy investors, family offices, private lenders, and hard money lenders. 

Apply for real estate financing

Apply for equipment financing

Apply for purchase order/factoring

Brokers/investment bankers inquire here

WEED

Cannabis Commercial Loans Now Available Nationally and in Canada

Troy, MI, January 30, 2020 – Seed To Sale Funding™ today announced its expansion into all US states where medical or recreational use of marijuana is legal, as well as into Canada. This milestone is an important move for Seed To Sale Funding™ in fulfilling its mission to offer non-dilutive commercial loan financing and cannabis business funding for all qualified businesses.

“Our success in our native state of Michigan has been tremendous, so we are expanding,” says Judy Rinkus, CEO at Seed to Sale Funding™. “We now have a network of 25 lenders in the US and 5 in Canada, so we are actively seeking new clients who are seeking $500K or more for real estate loans or $250K or more for cannabis equipment financing and working capital.”

Highlights of the national program are as follows:

  • Available wherever marijuana is legal, including the states of Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Alaska, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and throughout Canada.
  • Purchase order and invoice factoring are also available.
  • Applicants are subject to approval by the lender.

About Seed To Sale Funding™: We are a consulting company that raises debt capital for all facets of the hemp and cannabis industry, including grow/cultivation, processing, testing, retail, and secured transportation. Since bank loans are not readily available for the hemp and cannabis industry, we primarily work with a network of private sources ranging from wealthy investors, family offices, private lenders, and hard money lenders.

Seed To Sale Funding is 100% women-owned and operated. Judy Rinkus, CEO, was recently honored in a feature article on Leafly highlighting Michigan Women in Cannabis. Learn more at Seed To Sale Funding and These Women are Leading Michigan’s Legal Cannabis Industry.

LEAFLY_MichiganCannabusiness18-1024x1024

These women are leading Michigan’s legal cannabis industry

As Michigan’s dramatic struggle to end cannabis prohibition finally comes to a close, an interesting thing has happened to the state’s newest legal industry: It has a lot of women. Specifically: powerful, influential women.

By the numbers, women may not yet make up the majority of Michigan’s marijuana investors, ancillary service providers, and business owners, but there’s clearly a higher ratio of women in cannabis than there are in many of the state’s legacy industries like automotive and manufacturing.

And women in cannabis occupy positions of power. That means political power, lending power, and the subtle power contained in professional networks and investment portfolios.

Michigan women in cannabis tend to value collaboration, strategy, pragmatism, directness, and a mission-oriented drive. I’ve gathered together revealing insights from nine women who have made a considerable impact on the state’s industry.

Source:leafly

Judy Rinkus, founder of Seed to Sale Funding, and CEO of the Vortex Group:

I spent 30 years in the commercial lending departments of larger banks. I left the banking industry almost 2 years ago. I was tired of working for The Man—quite literally, since most of my managers were men. I spent some time finding an industry where I could put my financial skills, business development skills, and extensive network of business professionals to good use.

Fast forward to last November, when recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan. I started receiving questions from business contacts regarding financing early-stage marijuana companies. As you probably know, banks won’t lend to these companies. Through series of connections, I was able to identify a group of about 20 non-bank lenders who were interested in the Michigan market.  And before I knew it, I had a pipeline!

Originally published on leafly

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