One of the farmer-creditors in the Anderson Seed Co. insolvency says he’s resigned to a settlement recommendation by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, which was approved by a Cass County District Judge in Fargo, N.D. on Feb. 25.
Judge Wickham Corwin agreed to allow an 80 percent payout on $800,000 of credit sales contracts, and a further payout on the cash sales, which total $970,000. He also agreed with a settlement with Legumex Walker of Winnipeg that contributed $630,000 to the trust fund for cash contracts. Much of that was money that was unpaid to Anderson Seed in a $1.6 million seed purchase, just prior to insolvency.
“In all honesty, I’m glad it’s moving forward,” says Kevin Kessel of Belfield, N.D. “I knew the judge was going to decide with the PSC recommendation.” But he says if the PSC are the experts he thinks there might have been some way they could have “caught it” before Anderson Seed, based in Mentor, Minn., went insolvent in February 2012.
Kessel scoffed at the statements lawyers that the 43 cents on a dollar is an acceptable outcome. “Are they willing to accept 43 cents on a dollar for their salary next year?” he says.
He says he’s also displeased that the PSC didn’t pursue Ron Anderson and Stephanie Anderson for fraud. “In all honesty, I feel they were able to get away with stealing the rest of our money,” he says. Kessel says that if he had stolen someone’s money from their wallet, he’d be in court and in jail. “These guys did it (stole money) and they’re out roaming the countryside, doing what they need to do.”
Kessel says he has discussed the settlement with Mike Gust, a Fargo attorney representing several farmers in the case. He says he isn’t sure whether to go after the Andersons personally for the unpaid losses. “We, as a group, are going to visit again, but I can’t say yes or no,” he says. “Part of a guy says, let’s pursue this. Another part of a guy says I’ll take my whipping and walk away.”