UPDATED: USDA cites closed company for PACA debts

02/07/2013 10:19:00 AM
Coral Beach

(UPDATED COVERAGE, 2 p.m.) The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently filed an administrative action against Avocado Importers International Inc. — which ceased operations in February 2010 — citing a total of $800,000 in unpaid bills to produce sellers.

The McAllen, Texas, company did business under the name Ultimate Avocado. The USDA cited it in June 2010 for failing to pay a California supplier $22,499. That USDA notice stated Jay Humphreys was the sole officer, director and stockholder.

Humphreys filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as an individual in March 2010. In his bankruptcy filing Humphreys stated he operated Avocado Importers International from May 2006 through February 2010.

Despite filing bankruptcy as an individual, Humphreys listed several business debts, including money owed to a number of produce suppliers, in his bankruptcy documents. That case was closed, with debts discharged, when the judge entered a final decree in February 2012.

The most recent administrative action against the company by the USDA under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, posted Feb. 1, states the company failed to pay a total of $813,573 to five produce suppliers beginning in December 2007 and running through October 2009.

USDA spokeswoman Gwen Sparks said agency officials take action after sellers notify them of unpaid bills. The complaints are verified and then buyers are cited. Sparks said sellers apparently had not notified USDA of the unpaid bills until recently.

The phone number listed for Avocado International Importers Inc. is not a working number.



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