Release No.: 090-14
Nadine Wilkins (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited J & S Produce Corp., of Chicago, Ill., for failure to pay for produce.
The company failed to pay $602,650 to 11 sellers for 475 lots of produce. As a result of these actions, J & S Produce Corp. cannot operate in the produce industry until Sept. 19, 2015, at which time it may apply for a Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) license.
The company’s principals, George Pappas, Steve Pappas, and James Stamas, may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee until Sept. 19, 2014, and then only with the posting of a USDA-approved surety bond before being employed by or affiliated with a PACA licensee.
USDA is required to publish the finding that a business has committed willful, repeated, and flagrant violations of PACA as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business during the violation period. Those individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, members, managers, officers, directors, or major stockholders may not be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee without USDA-approval.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), PACA Division, regulates fair trading practices of produce companies operating subject to PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. USDA is authorized to suspend or revoke a company’s license for violations of PACA. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 4,600 claims filed under PACA involving more than $87 million. This is just one more way USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For further information, contact Josephine E. Jenkins, Chief, Investigative Enforcement Branch, at (202) 720-6873, by fax at (202) 720-8868, or by email at InvestigativeEnforcement@ams.usda.gov
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