Total tomato company auctions yield $75.8 million

10/29/2013 10:52:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

The final bankruptcy auction of the properties of defunct tomato grower-shipper East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc. brings the overall auction totals to $75.8 million.

East Coast Brokers & Packers An Oct. 28 auction of Virginia and West Virginia cold storage and packing facilities concludes five months of selling the Mulberry, Fla.-based East Coast’s facilities and assets formerly owned by the Madonia family and related entities.

All assets except the Madonia’s Plant City, Fla., Red Rose Inn & Suites motel were auctioned, according to a news release.

The auctions satisfied more than $51 million in debts the Madonias owed to a variety of agribusiness related firms, including a Chicago wholesaler.

The assets included 13,000 acres of farmland, packing facilities, worker camps and equipment primarily in Florida and Virginia.

In September, a bankruptcy court approved the earlier sales.

The auction’s proceeds exceeded the expectations of the trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Florida, Tampa Division, who was administering the sales, according to the release., from Murray Wise Associates LLC, Champaign, Ill., an agriculture business real estate company involved in selling the assets.

“I am absolutely amazed at the total proceeds that were received in each and every auction,” Chapter 11 Trustee Jerry McHale recently said in bankruptcy court, according to the release. “I will say that every auction exceeded my expectations.”

Once one of Florida’s largest tomato grower-shippers, East Coast last fall stopped operations and then filed for bankruptcy protection in March.



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