The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited two produce businesses, including Market 52 Inc., after they failed to pay for produce.
Market 52 Inc., Kingsburg, Calif., failed to pay a total of $842,429 to nine sellers for 48 lots of produce bought from July 2011 through November 2011, a violation of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the USDA announced on May 7.
The company, which previously did business as Premier Pacific Trading, Visalia, Calif., before filing for bankruptcy in January 2012, has been embroiled in ongoing negotiations to settle millions of dollars in debts owed to dozens of produce suppliers.
Market 52 surrendered its PACA license in February 2012, but on Dec. 3 the USDA announced it had filed an administrative action against the company for $842,429 in unpaid debts.
As a result of the citation, Market 52 Inc. can’t operate in the produce industry again or apply for a PACA license until April 20, 2015.
The sole responsibly connected principal, Jerald Downs, also cannot work in the industry for a year, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
The USDA also cited Lucas Brothers Inc., Riverview, Fla., for failing to pay nine sellers at total of $242,386 for 42 lots of produce. Consequently, the company’s license has been suspended for two years. The responsibly connected principals are Orfanel Lucas and Victor Lucas.
The USDA has filed a PACA administrative action against Liborio Markets Inc. for allegedly failing to pay its suppliers.
Liborio Market, Los Angeles, allegedly failed to promptly pay nine sellers a total of $123,345 for produce bought between July 2010 and June 2012.
Liborio Markets also has been entangled in a multimillion-dollar bankruptcy case since last year, when a judge ordered the company into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in July 2012.
The company will have the opportunity to request a hearing in the PACA case.
Plainbridge LLC, Montvale, N.J., has posted $500,000 with the USDA in order to obtain a PACA license.
Plainbridge LLC is the buying entity for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc., and posted the bond after The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings beginning in December 2010.
The USDA will hold the bond for three years.