(March 14) BEREA, Ohio — An attorney representing an Ohio company facing Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act trust claims said money has been deposited into an account for PACA disbursement, and creditors’ claims will be covered.

“The funds are there, they have been deposited, and things should go smoothly,” said Richard Bain, a Cleveland attorney representing Fresh Starts Etc. Inc. about the PACA trust disbursements.

Two separate cases against Fresh Starts Etc. Inc., filed Feb. 19 and 21, have been consolidated into one PACA case, said Mark Amendola, an attorney with Martyn and Associates, Cleveland, a law firm that filed the second complaint on behalf of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Minneapolis.

Amendola and Bain said the case was filed soon after Fresh Starts Etc. Inc. lost its only customer, Penn Traffic Co., a Syracuse, N.Y., supermarket operator. Fresh Starts is still a legal entity, but is no longer selling produce.

Even so, Bain said the court proceedings were unnecessary because Fresh Starts was able to pay creditors.

“Some people got panicky and there was no need for this,” he said. “There was more than enough (money) to satisfy their accounts.”

The final tally of claims won’t be known until March 31, the deadline for PACA claims set by a U.S. District Court judge in Cleveland, but Amendola said it will be around $1.8 million or $2 million.

Bain said he anticipates total claims of less than $1.8 million, but said there is more than that available from the PACA trust escrow account set up to distribute the funds.

Ted Copeland, Fresh Starts Etc. owner, referred questions to Bain.