SUGARCREEK, Ohio — Sugarcreek Livestock Auction owner Leroy H. Baker Jr. may be in trouble for allegedly violating the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act but what he wants everyone to know is that there’s a lot more going on at the business than what meets the eye.
According to a news release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has found evidence Sugarcreek Livestock Auction Inc. and Baker violated the act. GIPSA filed a complaint against Baker and the auction barn Nov. 18.
GIPSA has found the auction barn failed to maintain and properly use its custodial account for shippers’ proceeds, causing shortages in the account.
According to the GIPSA release, Baker failed to deposit in the custodial account for the auction, within the time prescribed, an amount equal to the proceeds receivable for sales of consigned livestock.
He also allegedly permitted approximately $7,350 in bank fees to be charged to the custodial account, due in part to the auction’s use of shippers’ funds in the custodial account.
According to the release, Sugarcreek Livestock Auction Inc. failed to keep and maintain records that fully and correctly disclosed all transactions involved in the business.
Baker is not disputing his record keeping may not be the way GIPSA would like to see it, but he concludes the books are balanced and that everyone has been paid.
“Everyone has gotten their money after selling,” said Baker.
As far as the alleged poor record keeping violations, Baker said some things will be changed procedurally and other things will not.
Baker said GIPSA does not take into consideration situations when buyers fail to pay him when they purchase livestock, and that he responsible for the money. He said he has many cases where someone will purchase cattle and then either not pay for them or bounce a check.
Baker showed the Farm and Dairy bad checks that totaled more than $100,000, which he says he will never would get paid for.
“They’ll go berserk over a hundred dollars, but I get stuck for half a million,” said Baker.
He added that some of the violations GIPSA cited him for revolve around checks that were issued and awaiting a name to be put on them. Some customers had dropped livestock off in the pens and had not left a name for the check payment. Baker said when the person called or came in, the name would have been written in and they could have cashed it.
Baker has 20 days after receiving the complaint to file an answer with the clerk. Failing to answer the complaint will force the matter to be set for a hearing in the future.