Colorado Court Case Seeks to Free the Next Jeff Bezos

Date: February 27, 2019

NFIB files amicus brief challenging state securities commissioner

Contact: Tony Gagliardi, Colorado State Director, 303-325-6243, [email protected], or
NFIB Small Business Legal Center attorney Elizabeth Milito 202-406-4443 (o), 202-445-9111 (c), [email protected]

DENVER, Feb. 27, 2019—Should the lack of industry-specific experience bar entrepreneurs from participating in enterprises unrelated to what they know or do?

In an amicus brief filed yesterday afternoon by the NFIB, that is the question the nation’s leading small-business association is asking the Colorado Court of Appeals to decide in the case of Chris Myklebust, Securities Commissioner for the State of Colorado v. Brandon Davis and the Heartland Energy Development Corporation.

In its brief, NFIB argues that “Colorado law should be clarified to reflect the truth that sophisticated and experienced business people can frequently participate meaningfully in the operation of a business without prior specific experience in that business’s particular industry segment. This business reality is borne out with a number of America’s most famous executives. Smart business people are not only able to successfully participate in ventures outside their prior experience, they are able to use their general business acumen to create entirely new industries. Jeff Bezos of Amazon is but one example.”

“Broad application of the Colorado Securities Act’s registration and licensing requirements on joint venture partnerships will impose extraordinary costs on small businesses,” said Elizabeth Milito, an attorney with the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, “even more troubling is the prospect that the decision may embolden more aggressive initiatives and enforcement actions.”

“We feel we have a solid case against the securities commissioner,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado state director. “What sort of message is it sending to business people who want to come here and create jobs that your interactions with your general partners will be looked at askance if you haven’t the experience in the industry you’re investing your time and capital in? If the prior ruling in this case is left to stand, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet would not be able to be general partners in an ice cream franchise, because they did not have specific experience in making ice cream.”


For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

National Federation of Independent Business/Colorado
1580 Logan St. Suite 520
Denver, CO 80203
Twitter: @NFIB_CO


Related Content: Small Business News | Colorado | Legal

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