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The jade green water at Bowles Lake shimmered in the bright May sun as four members of the King family stood on the dock, reminiscing about the family history all around them: the stately house where they got married, the horses they used to ride in the summers, the prickly bushes that made you think twice about falling from the monkey bars.

This posh enclave southwest of Denver, replete with million-dollar homes abutting the lakes and foothills, is entirely the imagination of the family patriarch, Lloyd King, founder of the King Soopers grocery chain.

Lloyd King was Bow Mar. He served as the nascent town’s first mayor in the 1940s, transforming empty farmland into a grandiose family estate that rivaled any other in Colorado. And as King Soopers grew from a single Arvada store in 1947 into a regional powerhouse, King amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune and a reputation as one of the state’s shrewdest businessmen.

“Grandpa was a rockstar,” said Cindy Gotchey, one of Lloyd’s grandchildren.

The family name still rests on a brown-and-white sign next to the lake: the Lloyd and Eleanor King Beach.

But nothing here belongs to the Kings anymore. The house and land? Sold off. Family possessions? Gone. Family legacy?

“It’s all been hijacked,” said Stacey Cahalane, another grandchild.

So what happened to the King Soopers fortune?

— Full story via Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post 

The strange, untold story of the King Soopers family fortune

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See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.

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