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'Who is here to protect us?' Some Five Points businesses feel targeted by 'predatory investors'

During a Saturday community meeting, some took the floor to express concerns over outside investors
 Some Five Points businesses feel targeted by '"predatory investors"
Posted at 11:32 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 13:32:44-04

DENVER — For the past two years, business owners have faced economic hardships due to the pandemic. Now, some in the Five Points neighborhood say there's another threat to their livelihoods — this time, in the form of outside investors.

"We have community pillars like Welton Street Cafe and other companies and other businesses that are not here anymore," Lejon Vivens said.

He blames "predatory investors" for the exodus of iconic businesses in the area. Vivens co-owns Agave Shore and he said he's grateful to still be open and operating. Last week, the business owner settled a lawsuit with an outside investment firm.

Vivens said, in his situation, the firm became the defacto landlord, and when things didn't go the firm's way, they tried to push him out via litigation.

Denver7 is choosing not to name the investment firm or investor, but Vivens said he wants to speak out on behalf of those who feel silenced.

"They were suing us for forcible eviction for back cams, back rent and other minor items," he said. "[Cams] are snow removal, security... those type of items."

During a Saturday community meeting held to connect Black businesses owners with financial resources, Vivens, instead, took to the floor to challenge future investors.

"We definitely are scared for people who say, 'I'm here for Black business.' Well, the question: Is it only the Black businesses you own a part of?" Vivens said. "Who is here to protect us against landlords?"