The Gathering Spot and Greenwood are embroiled in fierce legal battle

According to a July 10th court filing in Fulton County Superior Court, Ryan Wilson, CEO and Co-Founder of The Gathering Spot, has claimed Greenwood, Inc. has breached “their fiduciary duties owed to certain shareholders.” Additionally, Wilson’s lawsuit claims Greenwood, led by Dr. Paul Q. Judge and Ryan Glover, also participated in a fraudulent transfer and receipt of funds in order to avoid payment of a contractual debt owed by Greenwood to those same shareholders. 

On July 15th, it was announced that TGS co-founder T’Keel “TK” Petersen would be leaving the company and his role as Chief Operating Officer. Soon thereafter, Greenwood announced the hiring of Mike McCloskey as its Chief Financial Officer. Those moves set off a firestorm which consisted of criticism, questions, and members announcing cancellations on social media.

How did we arrive here?

May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. In October 2020, Glover, Judge, Jesse Williams, Ambassador Andrew Young, plus rapper and entrepreneur Michael “Killer Mike” Render formed Greenwood, Inc., which is a financial technology and digital banking platform created to address the banking needs of Black and Latino communities. Their plan was to fashion Greenwood as the superior and culturally relevant Black-owned bank.

Additionally, Greenwood closed $40 million of Series A funding from six of the seven largest U.S. banks and the top two payment technology companies: Truist, Bank of America, PNC, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Mastercard, and Visa. Greenwood provides debit card services and savings accounts. However, Greenwood’s customer accounts are held by Costal Community Bank and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $250,000.

On May 10, 2022, Greenwood, Inc., acquired ownership of The Gathering Spot, a private membership network that provides access to an exclusive network of professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs, curated experiences, exclusive content and networking opportunities for Black professionals. At the time, the announcement purported a partnership between the two companies even though this was an mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transaction.

In February 2023, Wilson filed a lawsuit alleging Greenwood committed, “intentional misconduct to breach its purchase agreement,” thus breaking its contract. 

The Gathering Spot co-founder Ryan Wilson speaks with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens during the Atlanta Business Summit on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Greenwood then filed a countersuit in June 2023 alleging TGS’s “own bad conduct that perpetuated the alleged breaches that they complain of now.” In a written statement, Glover said the TGS location in Los Angeles was not profitable. Glover claimed Greenwood paid more than $40 million to TGS in an effort to finalize the acquisition, according to reporting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

However, Wilson asserted in the subsequent July 10th court filing that Glover informed Wilson that “based on business financial performance across all of our business units, no one will receive 2022 bonus payments.” This was not true, as Defendants fully intended to pay themselves.

Next, TGS alleged Greenwood missed several deadlines for payments owed to TGS shareholders (which include Valor Ventures, Cameron J. Newton Enterprises and JAAD Capital) and has refused to make them. According to the lawsuit, Wilson also says that Greenwood’s failures to pay stem from financial issues and predicts the company will soon become insolvent. 

What are the next steps?

The ultimate goal of this lawsuit is Wilson and Petersen regaining ownership of The Gathering Spot, independent of Greenwood. 

Ryan Glover, Paul Judge, T’Keel Petersen, and Ryan Wilson have not responded to requests for comment on this story.

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