Denver Food Hall Operators Accuse Partner in Dispute

According to news sources, Denver chef Jesus Silva, who started his restaurant career at 11 in his home country of Mexico, has won respect and recognition for his work and creative food concepts all over the Denver area.

Silva, like many of his peers, struggled when COVID-19 hit. One venture closed at the height of the pandemic, but he opened stalls at the Milepost Zero food hall and helped open the Golden Mill food hall.

Then legal troubles hit. The legal dispute has spawned accusations of conflicts of interest, intimidation and bullying tactics. Silva said it has left the fate of his business and his more than 30 employees at Golden Mill up in the air.

“The worst thing we ever experienced in the industry was COVID,” Silva said. “I would think after COVID, nothing can be worse. And now I’m dealing with this. Oh my god, this is never going to end.”

By “this,” he means strife between him and his business partners, who lease three food stalls at the Golden Mill, and the property owners and operators, doing business as Golden Mill Ops. The operators sent a notice in January to Silva and his partners, whose business is called Golden Mill Food Concepts, to say their license was in default and would be terminated.

The operating group forwarded a new lease without input from Food Concepts, Silva and a partner said.

The latest development is a complaint filed on Feb. 24 in Denver District Court against Food Concepts that accuses one of the partners, Mark Shaker, of conflict of interest and “self-dealing.” He was co-manager for the operating group when he signed a lease with Food Concepts without disclosing his partnership with the lessees, the complaint said.

Golden Mill Ops wants the court to declare the license with Shaker, Silva and a third partner, James Wright, void. The operating group claims Shaker took advantage of the group’s trust by failing to disclose his conflict of interest and he signed contracts that were harmful to the operators.

Shaker, a co-founder of the Stanley Marketplace, said all the members of the operating group “knew unequivocally” that he was a partner in Golden Mill Food Concepts. He said the contracts for his partners’ food stalls were nearly identical to ones approved for two separate stalls and that Food Concepts has generated a lot of money for Golden Mill.

The lawsuit claims Shaker, who was removed as a co-manager of Golden Mill Ops, failed to disclose this conflict of interest, “engaging in self-dealing to the detriment of GM OPS” and approving a contract that was unfavorable to the operating group.

Silva wants to find a solution. “I don’t want to be fighting. The restaurant industry is already a lot of stress. I don’t need more on my plate,” he said.

You can’t even go out to eat at a food hall stall without running right into another legal dispute. They are EVERYWHERE! And when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business including bankruptcies, landlord/tenant matters including unlawful detainers, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in your good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

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