(Feb. 28, 2:52 p.m.) The U.S. Department of Agriculture has revoked the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act license of Coosemans Specialties Inc., New York, and barred principal owners Daniel Coosemans and Eddy Creces from being employed by or affiliated with a PACA licensee for one year.

Alfie Badalamenti, vice president of Coosemans New York Inc., said the ruling will not affect his company’s business on the Hunts Point Terminal Market. Badalamenti said he took over the business, renamed it and obtained a PACA license in 2003, four years after Coosemans Specialties Inc. became ensnared in a bribery scandal.

“That has nothing to do with me,” Badalamenti said.

Jimmie Turner, a spokesman for the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, confirmed the ruling would not affect Coosemans New York. Badalamenti, Henri Creces and Rudi Coosemans are listed as the principal owners of Coosemans New York Inc. on the USDA’s Web site.

The ruling, however, does affect Coosemans Worldwide Inc. founder Daniel Coosemans, who started marketing specialty produce in Belgium before expanding into the U.S. in the 1980s. Coosemans started businesses in more than two dozen U.S. markets and found partners to run each branch.

New York was the company’s second U.S. location.

Joe Faraci, a partner and vice president at Coosemans Specialties, was arrested in 1999 during a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USDA and the Office of the Inspector General. Operation Forbidden Fruit resulted in the arrests of eight USDA inspectors and officers from more than a dozen Hunts Point market companies on bribery and corruption charges.

Faraci was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years supervised release and assessed a $4,000 fine.

Coosemans, who works out of the company’s Miami and Panama offices, said he was not involved with the payments to USDA inspectors. However, the USDA ruled that Coosemans and Eddy Creces were responsibly connected to the crimes because they were partners in the business.

Under terms of a Feb. 12 ruling, Creces and Coosemans can return to the U.S. produce industry in February 2009 if they post USDA-approved surety bonds. They can obtain a PACA license, with USDA approval, in 2010.

According to the Coosemans Worldwide Web site, the company has more than 30 locations, including 26 businesses in the U.S.

Daniel Coosemans was traveling Feb. 28 — the day after the ruling was announced — and declined to discuss how the USDA’s decision will affect his role with the companies.

Turner, however, said Coosemans and Creces must “divest and/or end their affiliation with any PACA licensee while under PACA sanctions.”

“Mr. Coosemans and Mr. Creces notified us that they had ended their affiliation with a number of other firms that are PACA licensees,” Turner said. “While the other licensees may continue to operate they may not do so with any connection to Daniel Coosemans or Edward Creces while these individuals are under PACA sanction.”

Creces and Coosemans were not listed as principals in any Coosemans operations — other than Coosemans Specialties — with active PACA licenses found on the USDA Web site Feb. 28.

The USDA, however, has no authority to control Coosemans’ activities with his company’s branches in Belgium, Chile, Guatemala and Panama.

It’s taken years to finalize cases stemming from the 1999 investigation. Turner said administrative investigations in the Hunts Point cases did not start until after the criminal proceedings were concluded. He said the final ruling against Coosemans Specialties was delayed by the company’s legal appeals.

In recent months, the USDA revoked the PACA licenses of other companies involved in the Hunts Point scandal. The agency sanctioned Kleiman & Hochberg Inc., G&T Terminal Packaging Co. Inc. and Tray-Wrap Inc.

The agency sanctioned King Sol Produce Inc. in 2004, Post and Taback Inc. in 2005 and Trombetta and Sons Inc. in 2006.

Turner said two cases remain on appeal: BT Produce Inc. and Koam Produce Inc.

Creces could not be reached for comment.