Lawsuit continues for Columbiana grain elevator and former employee

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SALEM, Ohio — No final settlement has been reached in the civil lawsuit between Witmer’s Feed and Grain Inc. and Donald B. Curfman Jr. of Lisbon, and the parties are headed into court next year.

In the Oct. 1 edition of the Farm and Dairy, it was reported Witmer’s attorney, Michael J. McGee had confirmed a tentative settlement had been reached. Court records also show both sides of the case had confirmed a possible settlement.

Civil trial rescheduled

However, according to the Mahoning County court docket, a jury trial has been rescheduled for Feb. 2, 2010.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2008 against Donald Curfman Jr. and his wife, Bonnie Curfman. Also listed in the lawsuit is Belinda Ingledue and Richard Curfman (Curfman’s brother), both of Minerva.

Curfman had worked at Witmer’s since 1993 and retired in March 2008. He served as the manager of Witmer’s Garfield Mill.

Alleged scheme

According to the lawsuit, Curfman is accused of issuing grain tickets to Ingledue without actually receiving any grain from her as part of a scheme to defraud Witmer’s. The alleged thefts are believed to have occurred from 2003 to 2007. The duo are alleged to have split proceeds totaling more than $900,000.

Grain tickets

Curfman is also accused issuing fake grain tickets to himself between 2004 and 2008 and collecting more than $200,000 in compensation.

The lawsuit says that Witmer’s began questioning Curfman about the grain shortage in November 2005 after a fake paper trail was allegedly created by Curfman to account for the grain transfers that never happened.

Meanwhile, Curfman has contacted the Farm and Dairy with his own claims about the scheme and has stated he did not act alone, and that Mike Witmer, president of Witmer’s Feed and Grain Inc., knew what was happening.

Curfman’s brother and wife are also included in the lawsuit because they are believed to have known about the scheme.

Lawsuit demands

According to the lawsuit, Witmer’s is demanding more than $25,000 in collections and assets owned by Curfman that they believed to have been purchased with the money gained through the alleged scheme. The lawsuit is also seeking assets including a home built in 2006, which caught fire May 7, 2009.

No contact

Calls and messages were placed with both Attorney McGee and Curfman’s attorney Larry W. Stacey II. However, neither returned a call to the Farm and Dairy.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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