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Why Sunflower Market’s CEO Has Been Arrested

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It hasn’t been a good week for Sunflower Farmers Market, a natural-foods grocery store chain headquartered in Boulder. Days after an employee at one of the New Mexico markets was accused of contaminating yogurt with his semen, company CEO Michael Gilliland was arrested in Arizona for allegedly soliciting sex with a minor and has subsequently resigned from his position with the grocer. In 2010, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce named Gilliland, who rose to prominence in the biz after founding Wild Oats Markets, Entrepreneur of Distinction, notes the Denver Post.

He faces one felony count of child prostitution, but, according to the Daily Camera, Gilliland says “he believes he is not guilty of the charges brought against him, and he expects to be exonerated.” According to Sunflower Farmers Market president Chris Sherrell, who has been named acting CEO, Gilliland stepped down “so that his personal affairs will not affect the company.” Phoenix police sergeant Steve Martos says Gilliland, who owns homes near Longmont and in Arizona, is among eight people arrested in the investigation.

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