Brewery says it caught thieving co-owner on tape: ‘Nobody at Joyride is aware’

Joyride3rdAnniversary DJI 0035 Cropped

Joyride Brewing operates at the corner of Sheridan Boulevard and 25th Avenue in Edgewater. (Courtesy Joyride Brewing via The Denver Post)

A bankrupt Edgewater brewery claims to have audio recordings in which its former general manager boasts of filching hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company.

Joyride Brewing, at 2501 Sheridan Blvd., has been suing minority owner Grant Babb since December. It accuses him of embezzling or misappropriating $1 million, including by moving money to his other companies: Live Slow Brewing and Herman’s Hideaway.

Babb has denied doing anything wrong and is countersuing for $170,000 that he claims to have loaned Joyride. The case, which is scheduled to go to trial during five days in November, took a turn on June 5 when Joyride revealed the existence of two audio recordings.

“I mismanaged finances within Joyride, colluded between two companies, supported Live Slow with finances from Joyride, nobody at Joyride is aware,” Babb allegedly said in one.

In a second recording, Babb allegedly said that he expected Joyride to keep quiet about the thefts because “it looks bad” and the brewery did not have money for a lawsuit.

11.3D Brewery

Live Slow Brewing co-owners Grant Babb, left, and Joe Malouff. (BusinessDen file photo)

The recordings were supposedly attached as court exhibits to a motion that Joyride filed June 5. But when BusinessDen obtained all 13 exhibits to that motion in a records request, recordings were not among them. Joyride’s lawyers declined to answer questions about that.

“Mr. Babb denies any theft,” said Babb’s lawyer, Reid Allred at Cambridge Law in Denver.

“The evidence, including the recordings referenced in the motion, discuss various loans to and from Joyride,” he said. “The motion misrepresents the contents of the audio recordings, which were made without Mr. Babb’s knowledge of conversations where the parties were attempting to resolve their disputes. The truth will be shown through discovery and at trial.”

Allred didn’t respond to a Friday request for the recordings or a fuller transcript of what was said.

At the fall trial, Joyride would like to ask jurors to award it punitive damages since “Babb has unabashedly admitted to pilfering Joyride’s accounts.” First, it must convince Judge Andrew Poland to let it seek punitive damages. The judge has not yet ruled on the motion.

“The sheer breadth, scope and repetition of his conduct illustrates he purposely or recklessly made the transfers only thinking of himself, and with clear disregard to the consequences to Joyride and its rights,” Joyride Brewing’s lawyers wrote of Babb in their motion.

“He knew he could get away with it, and he did — for nearly two years,” the motion states.

Thirty-six pages of Joyride bank statements that BusinessDen obtained in a records request show payments for flights to Las Vegas, sports tickets, hotel stays, golf outings, a $72 bill at Taco Bell, and more that Joyride blames on Babb. Those expenses are in addition to transfers of money to Babb and his companies, which Babb said were for loan repayments.

Joyride’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it also blames on Babb, has gone smoothly. Last month, the brewery laid out a 32-page plan for reorganizing that calls for its largest creditor, the U.S. Small Business Administration, to be repaid its $531,000 in full over five years. A judge will decide whether to approve that plan and end the bankruptcy at a hearing July 10.

Joyride’s lawyers are Jeremy Jonsen and Patrick Vellone with the law firm Allen Vellone Wolf Helfrich & Factor in Denver. That firm handles Joyride’s bankruptcy case as well.

Meanwhile, Live Slow Brewing, an alleged benefactor of Babb’s alleged thefts from Joyride, never opened in the former Wheat Ridge bowling alley it leased in 2021. Babb’s business partner told BusinessDen as recently as January that it would open soon, but the business’ 11,000 square feet at Gold’s Marketplace, 2625 Kipling St., was being marketed for lease as of April.

Joyride3rdAnniversary DJI 0035 Cropped

Joyride Brewing operates at the corner of Sheridan Boulevard and 25th Avenue in Edgewater. (Courtesy Joyride Brewing via The Denver Post)

A bankrupt Edgewater brewery claims to have audio recordings in which its former general manager boasts of filching hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company.

Joyride Brewing, at 2501 Sheridan Blvd., has been suing minority owner Grant Babb since December. It accuses him of embezzling or misappropriating $1 million, including by moving money to his other companies: Live Slow Brewing and Herman’s Hideaway.

Babb has denied doing anything wrong and is countersuing for $170,000 that he claims to have loaned Joyride. The case, which is scheduled to go to trial during five days in November, took a turn on June 5 when Joyride revealed the existence of two audio recordings.

“I mismanaged finances within Joyride, colluded between two companies, supported Live Slow with finances from Joyride, nobody at Joyride is aware,” Babb allegedly said in one.

In a second recording, Babb allegedly said that he expected Joyride to keep quiet about the thefts because “it looks bad” and the brewery did not have money for a lawsuit.

11.3D Brewery

Live Slow Brewing co-owners Grant Babb, left, and Joe Malouff. (BusinessDen file photo)

The recordings were supposedly attached as court exhibits to a motion that Joyride filed June 5. But when BusinessDen obtained all 13 exhibits to that motion in a records request, recordings were not among them. Joyride’s lawyers declined to answer questions about that.

“Mr. Babb denies any theft,” said Babb’s lawyer, Reid Allred at Cambridge Law in Denver.

“The evidence, including the recordings referenced in the motion, discuss various loans to and from Joyride,” he said. “The motion misrepresents the contents of the audio recordings, which were made without Mr. Babb’s knowledge of conversations where the parties were attempting to resolve their disputes. The truth will be shown through discovery and at trial.”

Allred didn’t respond to a Friday request for the recordings or a fuller transcript of what was said.

At the fall trial, Joyride would like to ask jurors to award it punitive damages since “Babb has unabashedly admitted to pilfering Joyride’s accounts.” First, it must convince Judge Andrew Poland to let it seek punitive damages. The judge has not yet ruled on the motion.

“The sheer breadth, scope and repetition of his conduct illustrates he purposely or recklessly made the transfers only thinking of himself, and with clear disregard to the consequences to Joyride and its rights,” Joyride Brewing’s lawyers wrote of Babb in their motion.

“He knew he could get away with it, and he did — for nearly two years,” the motion states.

Thirty-six pages of Joyride bank statements that BusinessDen obtained in a records request show payments for flights to Las Vegas, sports tickets, hotel stays, golf outings, a $72 bill at Taco Bell, and more that Joyride blames on Babb. Those expenses are in addition to transfers of money to Babb and his companies, which Babb said were for loan repayments.

Joyride’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it also blames on Babb, has gone smoothly. Last month, the brewery laid out a 32-page plan for reorganizing that calls for its largest creditor, the U.S. Small Business Administration, to be repaid its $531,000 in full over five years. A judge will decide whether to approve that plan and end the bankruptcy at a hearing July 10.

Joyride’s lawyers are Jeremy Jonsen and Patrick Vellone with the law firm Allen Vellone Wolf Helfrich & Factor in Denver. That firm handles Joyride’s bankruptcy case as well.

Meanwhile, Live Slow Brewing, an alleged benefactor of Babb’s alleged thefts from Joyride, never opened in the former Wheat Ridge bowling alley it leased in 2021. Babb’s business partner told BusinessDen as recently as January that it would open soon, but the business’ 11,000 square feet at Gold’s Marketplace, 2625 Kipling St., was being marketed for lease as of April.

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