Many local farmers who received cold checks for their cattle from Eastern livestock, LLC, are well on their way to being repaid, thanks to a criminal case against Eastern Livestock owners and operators, but for others across the state and country affected by the scandal, the money remains out of reach.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner and Tompkinsville native James Comer publicly blasted the handling of Eastern Livestock’s bankruptcy case last month in a press conference, and during a visit to Glasgow last week Comer continued to speak out on the issue.
“The farmers who fell victim to this scandal depended on this income to pay their employees and feed their families,” Comer said at the state fair in August. “It is a travesty that, after almost two years of legal wrangling, they are still being held hostage in this bankruptcy process. The payments to the victims are long overdue.”
Eastern Livestock’s line of credit with Fifth Third Bank was frozen at the beginning of November 2010 when the bank discovered a check kiting scheme. As a result, farmers, stockyards and banks did not receive payment from the livestock company. A criminal case spearheaded by the Kentucky Attorney General’s office has started restitution payments to almost 200 farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee, but at least a dozen local farmers were not included in the case, and they and others affected are still hoping to receive money from the bankruptcy case. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that Eastern could owe $130 million to as many as 700 producers in 30 states, according to Business Lexington.
For the full story, read the Sept. 22 print or e-Edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.