USDA/AMS Press Release:
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has imposed sanctions on five produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).
The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:
–R & C International Inc., operating out of Jessup, Md., for failing to pay a $23,545 award in favor of a New Jersey seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Steve B. Kim was listed as the officer, director, and major stockholder of the business.
–Kenneth Mandell, doing business as Benny Mandell Produce, operating out of Ocala, Fla., for failing to pay a $37,913 award in favor of a Colorado seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Kenneth H. Mandell was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
–Papita Produce Inc., operating out of El Paso, Texas, for failing to pay a $72,038 award in favor of a Colorado seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Daniel Canales was listed as the president of the business.
–Eric Garzon, doing business as GSP Distributing, operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $7,466 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Eric Garzon was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
–Saul Ventura, doing business as Ventura Produce, operating out of Los Angeles, Calif., for failing to pay a $10,910 award in favor of an Arizona seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Saul C. Ventura was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.
PACA provides an administrative forum to handle disputes involving produce transactions; this may result in a reparation order being issued that requires damages to be paid by those not meeting their contractual obligations in buying and selling fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. USDA is required to suspend the license or impose sanctions on an unlicensed business that fails to pay PACA reparations awarded against it as well as impose restrictions against those principals determined to be responsibly connected to the business when the order is issued. 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 businesses operating subject to PACA, which includes buyers, sellers, commission merchants, dealers, and brokers within the fruit and vegetable industry. All oversight of actions related to PACA are conducted by AMS, an agency within USDA.
In the past three years, USDA resolved approximately 4,250 PACA claims involving more than $77 million. Our experts also assisted more than 7,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $110 million. These are just two examples of how USDA continues to support the fruit and vegetable industry.
For more information, contact John Koller, Chief, Dispute Resolution Branch at (202) 720-2890, by fax at (202) 690-2815, or by email at PACAdispute@ams.usda.gov regarding this matter.
Release No.: 074-15
Contact: Nadine Wilkins, (202) 720-8998, firstname.lastname@example.org