WOOSTER, Ohio — Officers with the Ohio Holstein Association are still trying to reach a settlement regarding a cattle contract their now-fired general manager authorized in April of 2011.
The board maintains that it was unaware that then-General Manager Don Alexander entered the contract, which was to provide 420 heifers to New Jersey-based Nil Livestock, as part of an export deal to Turkey.
Some 258 head of those were shipped, providing a sizable deficit that led to a U.S. District Court decision in April that found the Ohio Holstein Association in default of $346,000.“We do not have a signed agreement yet,” Ohio Holstein Association President Dallas Rynd said June 28. He said a settlement appears close, but is not yet official.
The association says it did not become aware of the contract until checks began to bounce following its April 20 Spring Sale of dairy cattle in Wooster. The checks bounced because about $169,000 had been garnished from the association’s account, to pay the debt.
Attorney Timothy L. McGarry, of Highland Heights near Cleveland, is representing New Jersey-based Nil Livestock. He said about $110,000 was recently returned to the association, after learning that it came from the consignments of individual farmers.
Rynd said checks were issued June 22 to the 25-30 consignors whose first checks had bounced.
It’s unclear exactly when the funds were garnished, but court records show a certificate of judgment in the amount of $346,000 was issued against Alexander April 12, just eight days before the April Spring Sale.
Rynd said the board was not aware of the matter until May 17, when it also learned of dozens of court decisions and some missed deadlines.
Although the District Court had been mailing its notifications to the Ohio Holstein Association, the address that was provided was not the same as the official Ohio Holstein Association.“We saw no legal documents, period,” Rynd said, until “our account was empty.”
The Ohio Holstein Association is a nonprofit organization. It is made up of about 15 voluntary board members and has an officer-board that includes a secretary and a treasurer.
Rynd said regular board meetings are held quarterly, but leaders have been meeting more frequently as a result of this incident.
He said the board will likely review its accounting process in the future, but he insists that the current matter was something the board was unaware of, and that court proceedings were not addressed to the address of Ohio Holstein Association.
Alexander has not returned phone calls from Farm and Dairy seeking comment.
The association is being represented by Kennedy, Cicconetti, Knowlton & Buytendyk, of Wooster.
Attorney Charles Kennedy said it would be “up to the client” as to whether any charges of fraud are brought against Alexander. As of presstime, no charges have been filed, nor any other legal action taken.