Pigeon King gets wings clipped in Maryland

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SALEM, Ohio — Another state has clipped the wings of Pigeon King International.

Maryland’s Securities Commissioner filed an order requesting Pigeon King International and its owner, Arlan Galbraith, show cause for doing business there.

The order, filed May 19, said the state had “determined that grounds exist to allege that Pigeon King violated the registration, disclosure, and antifraud provisions of the Business Opportunity Act.”

The order also ordered PKI to cease and desist from offering the business opportunity and to prove why the company shouldn’t be permanently barred from doing business in the state.

Order of events

According to the order, Pigeon King sold a business opportunity to a resident of Gambrills, Md., in April 2007.

Galbraith agreed to sell that person 170 pairs of breeding pigeons at $200 per pair. Galbraith also agreed to buy back all offspring produced for $25 per bird.

Based on that scenario, Commissioner Melanie Senter Lubin said Pigeon King had sold a business opportunity in the state, but was never registered to do so. Galbraith also failed to provide that buyer a disclosure statement, which is required under state law.

The state said Galbraith “made omissions of material fact … by failing to provide a prospective buyer with financial statements … and substantiation for its ability to repurchase pigeons at a guaranteed price for a fixed period of time.”

Galbraith had through the end of the day June 5 to respond to the order, according to commission spokesperson Raquel Guillory.

As of presstime, Guillory had not returned phone calls to say whether Galbraith had complied. She previously said if no response was received, the order would go into effect and Galbraith’s business will be barred immediately and permanently.

Others

Since the beginning of March 2008, Iowa and Washington have both filed cease and desist orders against Galbraith and his company, with allegations that the business is a scheme or a fraud.

Galbraith told Farm and Dairy in a May 12 phone interview he had also voluntarily agreed not to do business in South Dakota.

Why pigeons? Pigeon King International, which bills itself as the world’s second-largest pigeon breeder, invites investors and buyers to invest as much as $50,000 to $100,000 or more to buy hundreds of pigeon breeding pairs.

Galbraith, in turn, contracts with the growers to buy back the offspring. He’s told them the pigeons will be sold to new investors, and on the marketplace for meat or as pets.

Galbraith’s Web site says he has contracts with hundreds of growers in North America and tells of plans to eventually offer pigeon as an alternative to chicken on the global market. He’s currently “developing a special line of squabbling meat pigeons,” according to the site.

Related coverage:

Washington finalizes cease and desist order against Pigeon King International (5/15/2008)

Washington takes action against Pigeon King International (5/1/2008)

Pigeons point to Ponzi scheme (3/13/2008)

Pigeon idea may not fly: Iowa investigating company for scheme (2/21/2008)

You’re raising what? Pigeons! (9/13/2007)

About the Author

Former staff reporter Andrea Zippay wrote for Farm and Dairy from 2001 to 2009. More Stories by Andrea Zippay

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