has filed administrative actions against five of the 14 companies
involved in the three-year-old bribery scandal in Hunts Point,
NY, for repeatedly violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities
Act (PACA). The five companies are: Coosemans Specialities Inc.,
Trombetta & Sons Inc., Kleiman & Hochberg Inc., B.T. Produce
Co. Inc., and Koam Produce Inc.
in all five companies earlier had entered guilty pleas in the
bribery and racketeering scandal that ripped apart the market
in 1999 causing a permanent rift between grower-shippers and the
market. The charges against the five companies stem from allegations
that employees bribed federal inspectors to issue false inspection
certificates on certain loads of perishable agricultural commodities.
actions may include barring the five companies from doing business
at the market for up to two years.
to The Packer (a news source for the produce industry), additional
charges may be levied against at least three, and possibly as
many as eight more companies. One attorney representing three
-- as yet un-named -- companies said barring that many companies
doing business at Hunts Point would mean rough times for everyone
Jr., president of Teamsters Local 2002, which represents more
than 1,200 workers, said closure of that many companies would
cause lasting damage to both the market and the companies. "I
think it would irreparably damage the terminal market and definitely
have repercussions to the consumer," he said.