FACT FINDER: SLT failed to do background check on felon who ran pot club

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Updated: 11/28/2012 5:36 pm
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – Former City Manger Tony O'Rourke says he accepts the ultimate responsibility for a complete background check not being done on a felon who received a license to run a pot club against city code. But he says there are more details the public needs to know. Thursday at 5, News 4’s Fact Finder team will dig deeper into his claims about where the breakdown happened.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – News 4’s learning new information about how a felon got a license to run a medical marijuana shop in South Lake Tahoe. It turns out the city never conducted the proper background checks.

City leaders promised to launch an internal investigation after News 4 asked them a few weeks ago how a convicted felon was able to get a business license to run a pot club - something which is against city code. Mayor Claire Fortier says in that internal investigation they learned Gino DiMatteo wrote false information on the business license application to run City of Angels 2. She says he hid a gun possession related felony committed about a decade ago under an alias. That wasn't caught because city staff never bothered to make sure DiMatteo was telling the truth by running the background check required under city code.

“We approved a dispensary without that which was of course a huge shock to City Council and certainly quite an embarrassment to the city,” Fortier said.

She says former City Manager Tony O'Rourke had the responsibility of making sure the check was done. O’Rourke left his position as South Lake City Manger earlier this year to take a job in Yakima, Washington. We have not yet heard back from him for comment.

The pot club City of Angels 2 already closed down a few months ago after News 4 broke news of undercover detectives linking it to illegal drug trafficking. And the mayor says after this new information about the missing background check, the Council has already taken a fine tooth comb to the one remaining pot shop - making sure nothing was missed in its permitting process also.
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