(CORRECTED June 25) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Superior Tomato-Avocado Ltd. and Cardile Brothers Mushroom Packing for failing to settle millions of dollars in Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act reparation orders.
According to a news release, Superior Tomato-Avocado, San Antonio, failed to pay $1,514,272 to 49 sellers for 965 lots of produce. As a result, Superior Tomato-Avocado cannot operate in the industry until May 20, 2015, and its principals, STA Management LLC and Walter Jensen, cannot be employed by any PACA licensee until May 20, 2014.
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 the website, at http://bit.ly/17h62Tq, creditors have until July 3 to file claims.
Cardile Brothers Mushroom Packing
The USDA cited Cardile Brothers after it failed to pay $2,988,273 to 126 sellers for 1,806 lots of produce.
The company is barred from operating in the produce industry until June 3, 2015. Its principals, Charles Cardile and Michael Cardile cannot work in the industry until June 3, 2014, and then only if a bond is posted with the USDA.
In a June 2012 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern district of Pennsylvania, Cardile officials said the company closed, had no real assets and had settled other claims with produce sellers.
In that case, the most recent of several involving the company over the past three years, Vineland, N.J.-based Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms Inc. settled with Cardile for $40,735. In its suit, Consalo had asked for $95,000.
Gwen Sparks, a USDA spokeswoman, said Cardile Bros. Mushroom Packaging Inc. is out of business.
But three related companies, which are not subject to PACA, are reportedly in operation, she said. They are Cardile Mushrooms Inc., a mushroom farm; Cardile Bros. Transportation, Inc., a freight company; and Cardile Bros. Holding Co. LLC.
Other PACA actions
The USDA also sanctioned two other businesses for violating the PACA. They are:
- JD Produce Inc., West Covina, Calif., for failing to pay $50,832 to an Arizona seller. The responsibly connected officers are Delfina Placencia, Jorge Placencia and Juan C. Trujillo.
- Foodsmart of America Inc., Miami, for failing to pay $10,920 to a Florida seller. The responsibly connected officer is Jainette Gonzalez.
Note on correction: The original article incorrectly referred to the PACA license statuses of Cardile Bros. and Superior Tomato-Avocado.