Cannabis greenhouse developer hit with $2M collections suit

marijuana greenhouse

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A Denver firm that built a massive greenhouse to grow cannabis has not paid back millions in loans, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

GrowCo, which was founded in 2014 to develop industrial greenhouses near Pueblo and lists an office at 2000 S. Colorado Blvd., was sued this week by Blue & Green LLC for defaulting on $2.1 million in loans.

Blue & Green sent written notice on the default to GrowCo on Nov. 16, according to the lawsuit.

“Despite such written demand, GrowCo has failed to cure its defaults under the notes, and has failed to make the payments due,” the suit says.

The Denver Post reported in 2015 that GrowCo was building on two 40-acre sites in Avondale, Colorado. Each site would have a 91,000-square-foot greenhouse and 15,000-square-foot warehouse and processing facility. According to the Post, GrowCo paid around $45 per square foot to build the space, and  planned to lease the greenhouse to Suncanna for $20 per square foot on a triple net basis.

Blue & Green is represented by Frank W. Visciano and Devin N. Visciano from Senn Visciano Canges P.C. Frank Visciano did not return a request for comment.

GrowCo is a subsidiary of Two Rivers Water and Farming Co., a publicly traded firm based in Aurora. Growco has reported more than $15 million in capital raises, including a $5 million raise from 36 investors that closed in March. SEC filings list the company’s revenue between $1 million and $5 million.

Wayne Harding, CEO and CFO of Two Rivers, did not respond to a request for comment. Staff at GrowCo also did not respond to a request for comment.

In April 2016, GrowCo sued one of its tenants, Suncanna, after the marijuana grower allegedly failed to pay rent on a five-year lease. Suncanna reported to the Marijuana Enforcement Division that GrowCo was not permitting access to the greenhouses, which led to a second suit.

The tenant responded with a lawsuit of its own, claiming GrowCo did not follow through with several clauses in the lease, including a deal to buy membership interests in Suncanna. Pueblo County District Court has since consolidated the three cases, which are ongoing.

John McKowen, CEO of GrowCo, was sued for defamation in December by Aaron Van Wingerden, a consultant with Suncanna. McKowen’s other company, Cannaseed, was denied grow and cultivating licenses by the MED last year. McKowen appealed in August.

The case alleges the closing arguments contained false statement about Van Wingerden. It is still ongoing in Denver County District Court.

The company was brought to court in Pueblo County for three separate cases alleging GrowCo had not paid back loans. BMC Western Corp. sued in September 2016 after it said it was not repaid for $45,000 worth of furnishings and materials, and Wagner Equipment Co. sued for $135,000 worth of supplies in January 2017. Both cases were later settled. The third case from Blazer Electric Supply Management for $11,000 was recused due to a possible conflict of interest.

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