What was Crapo’s $250k ‘Blueberry Guru’ up to? Not pot, he says

Speculation that the man who lost $250,000 he borrowed from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s campaign was making a drug reference in naming his company is false, said businessman Gavin McCaleb on Monday.

McCaleb’s Blueberry Guru LLC was loaned $250,000 by the campaign in 2008 and invested in Pyramid Global Resources in Las Vegas, which “absconded with the funds,” according to an affidavit filed by Crapo’s former campaign manager Jake Ball. Now defunct, Blueberry Guru was a real estate investment firm.

The original May 10 story by the Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman on the loss included a comment from “workfaster.”  The anonymous posting suggested a connection between the name Blueberry Guru and a designer strain of marijuana sold by Guruseeds.com, called “Blueberry.” The company, one of many cultivating the flavor, describes the product thusly: “Blueberry Marijuana is 80% Indica, 20% Sativa, and became popular due to the unmistakable blueberry taste, and it’s superbly pleasant high.”

Combined with the ironic name of “Pyramid,” the “Blueberry Guru” name has sparked talk in Idaho political circles asking just how naive Ball was in handing $250,000 to McCaleb, his friend of many years.

McCaleb sought to put the chatter to rest Monday, telling me, “I chose the name for this LLC because at the time I formed the entity I was on a health food kick and had been learning the many impressive nutritive properties of blueberries.”

McCaleb provided a link regarding the health benefits of blueberries, which are hailed for their antioxidant qualities. Though he’s also is a stand-up comedian and was in a college band called “The Good Natured Pimps,” McCaleb has no interest in prolonging the jokes. “I will have no further comments on this matter,” he said.

Ball also put the kabosh on any such reference. “Those are two widely used words and I don’t know anything about marijuana at all,” Ball said.

Ball, 36, and McCaleb, 37, met at Capital High School in Boise and both graduated from Brigham Young University, an institution with a very low rate of pot smoking. For 15 years, the college guidebook publisher Princeton Review has ranked BYU the No. 1 “stone-cold sober” school in the country.

Said Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern: “I’m not going to comment at all on that. That’s just too far out there.”

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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