Eleven sellers who delivered more than $750,000 in produce to a now-defunct Roswell, Ga., company in 2006-07 are still awaiting payment.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the company, Americe Inc., on Oct. 11 under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, barring it and its principals from doing business in the produce industry. The principals named by USDA are Robert Golub, Peter Cranston and Robert Fang.
The three men and Americe, doing business as The Perimeter Group, were the subject of a USDA administrative action two years ago. That warned Americe that its rights to operate would be suspended if it did not pay the 11 sellers a total of $751,682 for 53 lots of produce received from December 2006 through December 2007.
Cranston filed a petition stating he was not a principal of the company, but that petition was dismissed in July 2011. In August this year, a judge ordered Americe and its principals to pay the 11 sellers. Chief Administrative Law Judge Peter Davenport stated that Americe Inc. ended operations in September 2008. The company had a valid PACA license from March 1990 to March 2008 when it failed to pay its renewal fee, according to the order.
Americe Inc. sold the produce from the 11 sellers to Wal-Mart, Quality Food Stores and Save-A-Lot stores, according to Davenport’s order.
The company’s three principals and The Perimeter Group may not be employed by, or affiliated with, any PACA licensee until Sept. 24, 2013, and only if they post a USDA-approved surety bond.
Americe Inc. cannot operate in the industry until Sept. 24, 2014, when it can reapply for a PACA license.
Americe and its principals have been named for failure to pay for produce in several actions since 2005 when the USDA issued a sanction regarding an unpaid bill for $148,825 from Agristar Frozen Foods Inc., Winfield, Ill. That debt was paid and the USDA lifted the sanction in December 2005.
In 2010, Grasso Foods Inc., Woolwich, N.J., won a reparation decision against Americe Inc. for $631,641 for peppers delivered from 2006-08.
In 2009, the USDA cited Americe Inc. for failing to pay a Canadian seller for $129,043 worth of produce.