In the midst of the company’s bankruptcy case, the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed an administrative action against the defunct Superior Tomato-Avocado Ltd. for its failure to pay dozens of suppliers a total of more than $1.5 million.
The Feb. 1 USDA action notice says the San Antonio company failed to pay 49 produce suppliers a total of $1.51 million from June 2011 through January 2012 under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
Superior Tomato-Avocado can request a hearing on the matter, but if the USDA finds that the company “committed repeated and flagrant violations” it will be barred from the produce industry for two years, according to the administrative action notice.
If that happens, the principal officers of the company would not be allowed to be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee for a year, and then only after posting a USDA-approved surety bond.
Superior Tomato Avocado and its related company, Delta Produce LP, also of San Antonio, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization in January 2012. The complicated case involves so many companies and debtors that the judge ordered a special website to be established to provide information on the case.
According to that website March 7 hearing is set to consider a request from the bankruptcy trustee in the case to convert it from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation.
PACA claims against Delta totaled about $1.64 million and PACA claims against Superior totaled about $1.78 million, according to court documents and lawyers involved in the case.