With new Granby store stalled, IgadI sues subleaser claiming he’s erratic, irrational | SkyHiNews.com

With new Granby store stalled, IgadI sues subleaser claiming he’s erratic, irrational

Lawsuit scheduled for trial in February

Over a year after Grand County commissioners approved a retail marijuana license just outside of Granby, the operator still has not taken control of the building.

When it will open might depend on the decision of a jury after ongoing disputes between the company and the subleaser have bubbled over into court.

IgadI, a marijuana dispensary business with multiple locations across Colorado and a production facility in Tabernash, has been attempting to open a new location just outside of Granby.

Following a number of disputes with its subleaser, Jason McSwane, the company filed suit in July, arguing that McSwane’s “erratic and irrational behavior” has delayed the the store’s opening.

In his legal response filed in September, McSwane counters that he has been lied to, denied payment for his work and threatened by IgadI with a lawsuit. However, IgadI’s lawsuit claims that McSwane has locked out contractors, misrepresented business dealings and demanded discounts on marijuana.

“We have been attempting to open a store in Granby for the last two and a half years,” said David Michel, general counsel for IgadI. “As described in the lawsuit and the complaint that we filed, it has been an odyssey. Our odyssey has been caused, as we describe in the lawsuit, by Jason McSwane, who has acted in a manner that is not rational as a businessman and not rational as an individual.”

McSwane and his attorneys did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but said in the legal response to the lawsuit that IgadI’s version of events “could not be further from the truth.”

The complicated history between the two parties goes back to at least 2019. McSwane is the owner of Catastophe Experts, a company that was hired in 2016 by Northwest Land, owner of the property at 834 W. Agate Ave., to provide asbestos removal at the 18-room motel.

After that work was completed, Northwest had McSwane build a new building to be leased as a marijuana business. McSwane acquired a five-year leasehold interest of the property from Northwest Land in 2019 with an option to renew. Northwest Land could not be reached for comment.

In the spring of 2019, McSwane reached out to two marijuana businesses offering to sublease the space: Bonfire and IgadI. That March, he entered into a sublease with Bonfire. There were some issues with this lease, and another agreement was signed with Bonfire in May 2019.

In its lawsuit, IgadI maintained that the company was not aware McSwane had entered into either of these agreements with Bonfire. According to IgadI’s legal documents, McSwane said Bonfire was “dragging its feet” and that he wanted to move forward with IgadI. Both of them then signed a letter of intent on May 20.

But in his response, McSwane tells the tale differently, saying that around May 20, Michel visited the building wanting to sublease it. McSwane’s response said it was then that he told Michel the building was already leased to Bonfire.

According to McSwane’s legal documents, Michel attempted to “one-up” Bonfire by offering McSwane a higher rent payment, along with discounts on marijuana and promising to “take care of everything” related to the Bonfire sublease. Michel disputes this encounter ever occurred and said he made no such promises.

IgadI and McSwane signed a commercial sublease on July 1, 2019. McSwane claims in the response that he “assumed that IgadI had ‘taken care of’ the supposedly invalid Bonfire Retail Space Lease as Michel had represented.”

According to IgadI’s sublease, the company would be entitled to possession of the premises upon McSwane’s completion of detailed construction and improvements, along with state and Grand County approval for IgadI’s use of the premises as a retail marijuana store.

The approval process for IgadI was not without controversy, as the location sat just outside Granby’s jurisdiction. Granby does not allow retail or medical marijuana operations within town, and the town’s elected leaders wrote county commissioners a letter opposing the approval.

On Nov. 7, 2019, five days before IgadI’s scheduled hearing before Grand County commissioners for a local marijuana license, Bonfire sent the Grand County clerk a copy of its subleases to the property. The hearing was then canceled to resolve the issue.

McSwane said in his response that Michel “feigned surprise” about the Bonfire lease despite their May 20, 2019, meeting. McSwane insisted in those documents that the only reason he signed the sublease with IgadI was based on Michel’s representations that the Bonfire lease would be “taken care of.”

Between November 2019 and July 2020, Bonfire, IgadI and McSwane negotiated over the competing sublease agreements. The agreement the three parties came to terminated Bonfire’s sublease in exchange for a $3,000 monthly payment, which would be abated from IgadI’s rent obligation.

This meant McSwane would get $3,000 a month for rent rather than the original $6,000. McSwane claims in documents that after discovering this, Michel “pressured” him to sign the agreement and threatened him with a $300,000 lawsuit if he did not. Michel completely denies this allegation as well.

In August 2020, Grand County commissioners approved IgadI’s use of the location as a retail marijuana store in a 2-1 vote. In July of this year, the county issued a certificate of occupancy for the building.

There have been a number of disputes over the build with McSwane stating in legal documents that he has completed over $100,000 worth of work for which IgadI has not compensated him.

Alternatively, IgadI claims that McSwane has locked out contractors, added concrete barriers to the parking lot despite IgadI’s protests and repeatedly tried to alter the terms of the sublease as a precondition of giving IgadI possession of the location.

IgadI’s suit also said that McSwane refused to give the company the premises unless, among other things, the company provided McSwane an indefinite discount on marijuana products at IgadI dispensaries.

Both parties agree that McSwane has refused to accept IgadI’s rent payments and that some work has not been completed. Even though the IgadI sign hangs on the wooden building, the dispensary still does not have possession of the premises.

McSwane’s response argues that because the sublease was “fraudulently induced,” IgadI has no right to any of its claims. At the same time, IgadI’s lawsuit argues that McSwane has acted in bad faith and breached contract.

“The first time that he mentioned, after two years of dealing with him, that he was fraudulently induced into signing a lease with us was after we filed a lawsuit to try and compel him to do what he’s supposed to do under the lease,” Michel said.

Michel is certain the issue will go to trial. He added that the company still wants to open a retail marijuana shop at that location.

“We have spent too much time and effort to get to this point to back down because we are dealing with one unstable individual,” Michel said.

A jury trial is scheduled to start Feb. 7 in Denver District Court.

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