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Former Sunflower CEO Gilliland Pleads Not Guilty

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Michael Gilliland (credit: Phoenix Police Dept.)

Michael Gilliland (credit: Phoenix Police Dept.)

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - The former chief executive officer of Sunflower Farmers Market has pleaded not guilty in Arizona to charges he knowingly engaged in prostitution with a minor.

The Daily Camera reports Michael C. Gilliland entered his plea Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The 52-year-old, who has homes in Colorado and Arizona, was arrested Feb. 10. An indictment alleges he solicited sex online from an undercover Phoenix police officer whom he believed was a 17-year-old girl.

Two days after his arrest, Gilliland resigned from the chief executive and chairman posts of Sunflower. He previously started Boulder-based Wild Oats Markets Inc., which was later acquired by Whole Foods Market Inc.

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