In this file:

 

·         Mass. meat company sues N.H. cattle, pig farmers

·         Meatpacker Sues Producers, Alleges Conspiracy

 

 

Mass. meat company sues N.H. cattle, pig farmers

 

By Bob Audette, Brattleboro Reformer (VT)

May 8, 2019

 

WESTMORELAND, N.H. — Attorneys for Walden Local, a meat company in North Billerica, Mass., have filed a suit against a father and daughter alleging they bribed an employee of a Vermont slaughterhouse to falsify weight records.

 

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Arthur Chickering III and his daughter, Suzanne Chickering, both of Westmoreland, conspired with Jeffrey Nichols, of Rutland, a lead cutter on the kill floor of Vermont Packinghouse in North Springfield "to falsify the weight records of the animals ..."

 

The changes allegedly made by Nichols resulted in an overpayment of "at least $173,976 to Suzanne Chickering for the meat itself and $49,492 to VPH for the processing of the meat in 2017 and 2018," notes the suit, which was filed last week.

 

Ritchie Berger, of the law firm Dinse in Burlington, is representing Suzanne Chickering.

 

"There is absolutely no factual basis for this lawsuit," Berger said. He had no other comment other than to say his response, to be filed in 60 days, will speak for itself.

 

The Reformer attempted to contact Arthur Chickering III, but his voicemail box had not been set up to take messages. The Reformer was unable to find contact information for Nichols.

 

"We filed a police report about the alleged fraud with the Springfield Police Department," said Arion Thiboumery, the general manager of the slaughterhouse. Vermont Packinghouse is not a party to the suit, he said. "We did receive some follow-up from the department, but that's all I know."

 

According to David J. Cahill, Windsor County State's Attorney, no criminal charges have been filed against the three at the state level regarding the alleged fraud.

 

According to court documents, "Suzanne Chickering is a farmer who is in the business of selling beef cows, hogs and other farm products. Arthur Chickering III is the father of Suzanne Chickering and her agent."

 

Neither have any connection to the Chickering Farm on Route 63 in Westmoreland, said Arthur "Jim" Chickering, the sole owner of Chickering Farm, which was placed into a conservation easement in March of this year.

 

Over a two-year period, from 2017 to 2018, wrote Cassandra LaRae-Perez, of Gravel & Shea PC in Burlington, representing Walden Local, the slaughterhouse processed beef and pork for the North Billerica meat company at an agreed upon per-pound price.

 

Thiboumery said Walden had separate contracts, one with the Chickerings to purchase the meat and another with VPH to process the meat.

 

As part of the process, Arthur Chickering III regularly transported his daughter's livestock to the slaughterhouse where employees weighed the animals, determining the "live weight" at time of arrival. After slaughter and dressing and before cutting, the animals were weighed again, which is known as "hang weight."

 

"Nichols' primary job at all times relevant to this action was to slaughter livestock at VPH," wrote LaRae-Perez. "It was the job of another employee of VPH to weigh the animals and record the hang weights in a log book."

 

However, wrote LaRae-Perez, "After the employee responsible for weighing and recording the hang weight of the Chickering animals recorded the information, Defendant Nichols changed the handwritten records to reflect amounts greater than the actual weights shown on the scale."

 

LaRae-Perez wrote that Nichols also altered the live weight documents to correspond with the "amended" hang weights, all at the behest of Arthur Chickering III...

 

more

https://www.reformer.com/stories/mass-meat-company-sues-nh-cattle-pig-farmers,572796

 

 

Meatpacker Sues Producers, Alleges Conspiracy

 

By Greg Henderson, Drovers, Editorial Director

via AgWeb - May 9, 2019

 

A suit filed in U.S. District Court in Vermont alleges a conspiracy “to falsify weight records” that led to an over-payment of more than $222,000 in 2017 and 2018.

 

Walden Local, a Massachusetts-based meat packer, claims Arthur Chickering III and his daughter, Suzanne Chickering, conspired with Jeffrey Nichols, a lead cutter on the kill floor of Vermont Packinghouse, North Springfield, VT. The alleged changes to weight records by Nichols resulted in an overpayment of "at least $173,976 to Suzanne Chickering for the meat itself and $49,492 to VPH for the processing of the meat in 2017 and 2018," court records indicate.

 

Arion Thiboumery, general manager of Vermont Packinghouse, told the Brattleboro (VT) Register, “we filed a police report about the alleged fraud with the Springfield Police Department." However, he said Vermont Packinghouse is not a party to the suit.

 

Court documents stated, "Suzanne Chickering is a farmer who is in the business of selling beef cows, hogs and other farm products. Arthur Chickering III is the father of Suzanne Chickering and her agent."

 

A representative for Walden Local wrote that over a two-year period, the Vemont Packinghouse slaughtered and processed beef and pork for Walden Local – the meat company – at an agreed upon price per pound.

 

Walden had separate contracts, one with the Chickerings to purchase the animals, and another with VPH to process the meat.

 

The lawsuit alleges that Arthur Chickering III regularly transported his daughter's livestock to the slaughterhouse where employees determined the live weight at arrival. After slaughter, the carcass hanging weight was determined...

 

more

https://www.agweb.com/article/meatpacker-sues-producers-alleges-conspiracy/