Former NHL star Mark Messier has sued the CEO of Alberta cannabis company Destiny Bioscience to recoup a half-million dollar investment.
Court records indicate Messier filed a complaint against Ed Moroz in a New York trial court on Nov. 18. Messier, a 15-time NHL All-Star who played most of his career for the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers, has retained the prominent law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison as counsel. The firm has represented the NFL in significant legal matters, including in the 2015 investigation into the New England Patriots over allegations of underinflated footballs (better known as Deflategate). The news was first reported by hockey journalist Rick Westhead.
Messier, 59, alleges that he received a personal guarantee from Moroz that he wouldn’t lose money in a $500,000 investment. This guarantee was purportedly essential to Messier’s decision to invest through a holding company. The Hall of Famer also claims he’s owed guaranteed amounts reflecting the value of his shares in Destiny. The company, at least as portrayed by Messier, was highly dependent on his celebrity in raising money. Destiny is also accused of making exaggerated promises about its prospects for success.
In public reports, Destiny is described as a “science-based cannabis genetics and tissue culture research and development company . . . with a unique seed bank containing in excess of 700 rare heirloom and landrace strains of cannabis.”
Per an order by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in May, Destiny is in receivership with a reported debt of $42 million. Receivership status generally means the company has defaulted, or is unable to make good, on loan payments and other financial obligations. Secured creditors use the receivership process to seek to financial recovery on unpaid contracts. Here, the sale of Destiny’s assets and property could provide some relief.
By suing Moroz individually, Messier likely hopes to circumvent the practical challenge of recovering money from a company in financial distress.
Messier is not the only person with Oilers ties connected to Destiny. In 2019, Oilers broadcast director Don Metz was reported as joining Destiny as vice chairman.