(UPDATED COVERAGE, Aug. 11) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Joseph Mercurio Produce Corp., Columbus, Ohio, for failure to pay a reparation award under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
The company's president, however, said the issue has been resolved.
As a result of the action, the company — one of central Ohio’s leading distributors — cannot operate in the produce industry until the award is paid to a Florida seller, according to an Aug. 10 USDA news release.
The USDA served Mercurio Produce a complaint and has been given the opportunity to respond.
Mercurio on Aug. 11 said the case had been satisfied.
He said his attorney in June sent an e-mail to the shipper's lawyer requesting that the attorney notify the USDA that the issue had been resolved.
That lawyer, Mercurio said, failed to update the the situation to the USDA.
A USDA representative could not be reached Aug. 11.
USDA ordered Mercurio to pay the seller $11,765.
Joseph M. Mercurio, the company’s workers (through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan), and JMP Investment GP LP are listed by the USDA as the company’s officers, directors, and major stockholders.
Mercurio's father, Joseph A. Mercurio, who founded the third-generation family owned wholesale operation in 1970, died in 2004. The Mercurios have been selling produce since the 1930s.