Rabo Agri files lawsuit against Turner Grain

Rabo AgriFinance, which provides financing for farmers, ranchers and agribusiness across the country, has filed a lawsuit against Turner Grain Merchandising of Brinkley and its executives, alleging breach of contract and saying Turner owes it nearly US$1 million.

Rabo alleges that Turner Grain's top executives — President Dale Bartlett and Vice President Jason Coleman — are "jointly and severally liable for the debts incurred on Turner Grain's account with Rabo" by virtue of their signatures on the credit agreement. It's the third known lawsuit filed against the Brinkley company.

Rabo, a subsidiary of Rabobank Group, also claims it entered into a security agreement with Turner Grain on Jan. 2, and is now entitled to "the foreclosure of its liens and security interests in the grain currently held by Turner Grain," in addition to other assets and collateral.

Rabo, which has a principal office in St. Louis, Missouri, is seeking compensatory damages, although an amount was not specified, and costs for attorneys' fees.

State agriculture officials have put the money at stake in the still-unfolding case between $20 million and $50 million. The FBI is also reported to be investigating Turner Grain.

In recent days, Turner Grain executives have appeared to be readying for lengthy court battles. Bartlett filed individual bankruptcy Sept. 5. The filing identified up to 49 creditors and liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. Coleman, the company's vice president, has hired a North Little Rock attorney to represent him.

Both have been removed as principals in a related company, Neauman Coleman & Co. LLC of Brinkley, which shares the same address as Turner Grain.

View the lawsuit here (PDF).

Source: Arkansas Business


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