SALEM, Ohio – He has 3,000 pounds of worms and nowhere to go.
Floyd Weyrick of Greenville, Ohio, has a contract with B&B Worm Farms out of Oklahoma that says the company will buy back all the worms he produces, but he says this contract isn’t going to be much good when the company is bankrupt.
So, instead, he has a $25,000-$30,000 investment in worms and no one to buy them.
Lawsuit. The Oklahoma Securities Department filed the $14 million lawsuit against B&B April 14 for allegedly violating the state’s Business Opportunity Sales Act for the second time in 12 months.
Other states took the lead earlier this month. Kentucky’s attorney general is suing the company for reportedly misleading growers about the money they can make. And Mississippi issued a cease-and-desist order for allegedly using “unfair and deceptive practices” to solicit growers and then refusing to pay them, according to the attorney general’s office.
Although it is unclear how many growers in Ohio have contracts with B&B, Weyrick estimates there are approximately 200.
B&B is the country’s largest network of worm growers.
Contracts. B&B sold contracts to growers, sent them worms and promised to buy back the worms and their offspring for $7-$9 a pound.
Greg and Lynn Bradley started the operation in 1998. Greg Bradley died Jan. 26.
Suit claims. According to the petition for injunction, “it is believed that in excess of $20 million has been received in connection with the business opportunity.”
Also according to the petition, B&B “refused to take delivery of worms produced by growers or failed to pay for worms delivered by growers to B&B.”
The suit also said proceeds from the contract sales were allegedly used to pay the Bradleys’ personal expenses, fund a relative’s auto parts business in Arizona and to make wire transfers to an adult entertainment business in Las Vegas.
It was also stated that B&B reportedly failed to honor the company’s one-year money-back guarantee.
Restitution. A temporary restraining order was filed by the department against B&B April 17 and its assets were frozen.
“Although the department is seeking restitution on behalf of the growers, we do not yet have sufficient information to determine if any funds will be available for restitution,” according to securities department information as of April 18. “The department has received information indicating B&B will file for bankruptcy within the next few days.”
Grower’s thoughts. This is the part that worries Weyrick: He doesn’t know what to do with his 3,000 pounds of worms.
Five hundred pounds of his worms were refused last week.
In addition, he said he recently turned in 180 pounds of worms worth $1,440 and never received his money.
When he first called B&B for answers, the state auditor answered and said the assets were frozen and no worm checks were being sent.
Now when he calls, a recording says, “Try to call again.”