What If Your GC Does Something Bizarre?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 23, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

From all appearances, Julie Ezell was an exceptional general counsel.

At the relatively young age of 39, she was guiding legislation for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She had unusual support from the community, especially on new laws affecting medical marijuana users.

So it was a shock when she reported receiving death threats. It was even more shocking when she confessed to making it up.

Threatening Email

According to reports, Ezell received threatening email from someone named "MaryJame." It went on for days.

"We will stop YOU and you're greed," one message said. "Any way it takes to end your evil and protect what is ours. We will watch you."

"We would hate to hurt a pretty lady," said another. Ezell forwarded the email to investigators, who assigned 14 officers to provide her protection.

Then the emailer made a big mistake. She sent a message that revealed her home address -- it was Ezell's.

Self-Inflicted Injury

It looked like maybe Ezell created the fake email to undo regulations that she opposed? Over her objections, the health agency voted to ban the sale of smokeable marijuana and to require a pharmacist at every dispensary.

When the investigators figured it out, Ezell admitted her wrongdoing, apologized, and resigned. The district attorney charged her with felonious use of a computer, falsely reporting a crime, and preparing false evidence.

After it all came out, medical marijuana supporters made it even more awkward. They said it was "a bizarre attempt to paint supporters of medical cannabis as malicious or threatening."

It's hard to say what the general counsel was thinking. And what would you say to that?

No answers for the next GC. Just questions.

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