A document showing a property transfer to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried from fiancé Jake Bergmann drew attention in Leon County.
A quitclaim deed filed in Leon County shows a property transfer from Bergmann to Fried for a home the two share. But the shift in title simply allows Fried to interact more cleanly with a bank, since Bergmann, a medical marijuana executive, purchased the home in cash. Bergmann founded Surterra and now runs boutique cannabis company Iconoclast Ventures.
“Commissioner Fried’s fiancé purchased their home without a mortgage, as banks would not write a mortgage with assets her fiancé earned in the medical marijuana industry,” reads a statement from a Fried spokesperson.
“This is a frustrating reality that thousands of legitimate cannabis entrepreneurs and investors face every day, due to outdated, inefficient banking laws. As is well known, Commissioner Fried faced these same antiquated banking challenges in her own campaign, when her account was shut down by Wells Fargo.”
That references headline-making friction between Fried and the bank when Wells Fargo closed the Democrat’s campaign accounts on the grounds she accepted donations from cannabis executives. Fried worked as a lobbyist for the industry before running for her Cabinet post in 2018.
While Bergmann is in the midst of a divorce from a previous relationship, that’s an amicable split unrelated to this financial transaction, sources close to Fried said. Bergmann’s soon-to-be-ex-wife knows about the property, and the Bergmann children have stayed there during visits.
The Leon County home involved in the transaction was solely purchased by Bergmann and jointly owned by Bergmann and Fried , and was transferred to Fried in part so she could pull a mortgage with the bank based on her salary and income as Agriculture Commissioner. Fried now has a mortgage on the property.
“Commissioner Fried and her fiancé are family, and are in a committed relationship as they are in the process of getting married, and chose to put the home in Commissioner Fried’s name in order to finance updates to their home,” Fried’s spokesperson said.
“This quitclaim deed, a common tool routinely used by homeowners, allowed Commissioner Fried to secure a mortgage on the home to finance construction and build equity, and which will appear on her next financial disclosure.”