Businessman gets 4 weeks for attempted pandering - New York News

Businessman gets 4 weeks for attempted pandering

Posted: Updated:
Michael Gilliland Michael Gilliland

By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- The former chief executive of an upscale Colorado-based grocery chain accused in a child prostitution case in Phoenix was sentenced Tuesday to four weeks in jail for his guilty plea to misdemeanor attempted pandering.

Authorities say then-Sunflower Farmers Market CEO Michael C. Gilliland agreed to pay $100 for sex in February 2011 in a police sting in which an undercover officer posed as a 17-year-old prostitute. Prosecutors say Gilliland showed up at a Phoenix hotel to meet the undercover even though she told the businessman during an earlier phone conversation that she was 17.

"I sincerely regret the mistake that I made that brought me here today. I understand the damage I have caused," Gilliland said in court, adding that he has taken responsibility for his actions. The 54-year-old was ordered to start serving his sentence late Tuesday afternoon.

The 54-year-old Gilliland, who founded Sunflower in 2002, resigned as chief executive of the chain after his arrest. He was originally charged with felony child prostitution, but pleaded guilty to attempted pandering in August. He faced a sentence ranging from probation to 18 months in jail.

Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steven Lynch, who sentenced Gilliland, said the businessman had no previous criminal history and had donated money in the past to worthy causes. "It's clear that you have taken responsibility. It's clear that you have shown remorse," Lynch said.

Jean-Jacques Cabou, a lawyer for Gilliland, said the arrest cost his client his job, tarnished his reputation and overshadowed his philanthropic work. "This was a terrible choice," Cabou said.

Gilliland, who lives in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, is now launching a Midwest-based chain of food markets.

He had founded Sunflower Farmers Market and Wild Oats Markets Inc. Wild Oats was acquired by Whole Foods Market in 2007.

Follow this story:

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Crash in Lincoln Tunnel causes major delays

    Crash in Lincoln Tunnel causes major delays

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-09-02 19:06:51 GMT
    One of the tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel was closed for nearly four hours after a chain-reaction accident involving a New York-bound jitney bus and two other vehicles. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says three people were reported injured in the accident in the center tube at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
    One of the tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel was closed for nearly four hours after a chain-reaction accident involving a New York-bound jitney bus and two other vehicles. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says three people were reported injured in the accident in the center tube at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

  • $1M Powerball ticket sold in NJ set to expire

    $1M Powerball ticket sold in NJ set to expire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:23:45 GMT
    State lottery officials say a Powerball ticket worth $1 million that was sold at a northern New Jersey convenience store last year will soon expire.
    State lottery officials say a Powerball ticket worth $1 million that was sold at a northern New Jersey convenience store last year will soon expire.
  • Princeton worker told to choose medical pot or job

    Princeton worker told to choose medical pot or job

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:19 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:19:48 GMT
    A Princeton University employee says he has been told to choose between medical marijuana and his job.
    A Princeton University employee says he has been told to choose between medical marijuana and his job.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices