Retail chains based in South Carolina and Pennsylvania have posted bonds of $4 million and $750,000, respectively, and a Pennsylvania produce company faces citations for failing to pay almost $1 million to sellers, according to new releases from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Bi-Lo LLC, Mauldin, S.C., posted the $4 million surety bond with the USDA to obtain a license to operate in the produce industry, as required by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, reaching an agreement in that case in 2010. However, the bankruptcy involvement triggered a PACA provision for the large bond amount. The USDA will hold the bond for three years.
The Packer reported in 2010 that the Bi-Lo bankruptcy agreement included: a $200 million loan from Credit Suisse Group; a $150 million equity investment from Loan Star Funds, the Dallas-based private equity firm that has owned Bi-Lo since 2005; and $150 million in revolving credit from GE Capital. Bi-Lo operates supermarkets in the Southeast U.S.
Sheetz Inc., Claysburg, Pa., posted a $750,000 PACA surety bond with the USDA. According to the USDA release, Stephen Sheetzâs prior involvement in a bankruptcy case triggered the required bond, which the USDA will hold for three years. The convenience store chain was in the news in 2009 when it settled a food safety lawsuit with Coronet Foods Inc., Wheeling, W.Va.
That settlement was rumored to be more than $11 million, according to an NBC News affiliate TV station in Hagerstown, Md. The case involved tainted roma tomatoes in sandwiches and other deli items that Sheetz stores sold. The tomatoes came from Coronet Foods and in 2005 the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that they sickened 429 people in nine states in 2004, according to The Packerâs archives.
USDA cites Storey's
The USDA cited Storeyâs Fruit and Produce Inc., Philadelphia, Pa., for failure to pay 27 sellers a total of $910,966 for 172 lots of produce. Storeyâs cannot operate in the produce industry until April 4, 2013, at which time it may reapply for a PACA license.
The companyâs principals, Daniel J. Storey III, Daniel J. Storey Jr. and Patrick M. Storey, may not be employed by, or affiliated with any PACA licensee until April 4, 2012, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond.
Storeyâs began operations in January 1996 as South Beach Inc., doing business as Storeyâs Fruit & Produce. In 2008 The Packer reported the company had abruptly closed, allegedly owing produce creditors more than $1 million. Four PACA creditors filed a civil trust action in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania against Storeyâs in 2008.