Scott Salyer released from jail - The Packer

Scott Salyer released from jail

09/04/2010 09:08:15 PM
Mike Hornick

Scott Salyer, former owner of Monterey-based SK Foods, is free on bail after family and friends offered houses and personal property as collateral.

The bulk of the $5.7 million in property came from Salyer's sister Linda Lee, who put up three homes worth more than $4 million, attorney Malcom Segal said.

Salyer left the Sacramento County Main Jail on Sept. 3.

Two longtime Salyer friends, Robert Pruett and Calvin Carter, posted one home each. A property owned by Pruett’s parents was also part of the package.

Salyer, 54, is now confined to his Pebble Beach home under court supervision, Segal said.

SK Foods’ former owner and chief executive officer had been in custody since Feb. 4, when he was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport as he arrived on a flight from Europe. Salyer pleaded not guilty to federal charges of racketeering, wire fraud and falsifying corporate records. A grand jury had indicted him on seven counts.

The prosecution came out of a probe of price-fixing, bribery and misbranding in the tomato-processing industry that lasted more than three years. SK Foods declared bankruptcy in 2009 and has since been purchased by Olam International.

Since his arrest, which came at a time when federal officials said Salyer was exploring safe havens in Europe and South America, prosecutors have said the former grower-shipper is a flight risk. They repeatedly opposed bail motions.

Salyer, who suffers from diabetes and glaucoma, lost 30 pounds while in jail, Segal said.

“He doesn’t look as good as he did five or six months ago,” he said. “We're pleased at his release, not just because of his health and comfort, but because this now gives us a chance to look through all the government’s evidence and vigorously contest the charges against him. … It will take at least a year to go through all the materials and prepare for a trial in the case.”

In March, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled Salyer could not use his Pebble Beach home to secure that bail. The Ronda Road house was subject to a claim in a divorce case involving Salyer's ex-wife, Lynne Salyer. At the time, the judge said her claim might take precedence over the government's if Salyer forfeited bail.



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