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Judge Gives Banks Access To Agriprocessors

agri.jpgA lender seeking control of Agriprocessors says the meatpacker’s finances are so dire that “millions of chicks and chickens (are) in danger of starving to death.”

Chief U.S. District Judge Linda Reade, after a telephone hearing Friday, gave Atec Liquidations of St. Louis limited powers to oversee Agriprocessors in Postville and a sister plant in Gordon, Neb., to make sure that assets are not diminished before an action filed Thursday in Cedar Rapids can be settled.

The lender’s lawsuit said the bank has been told that Agriprocessors’ electricity will be cut off if it doesn’t pay $188,000 that is past due and a $88,000 deposit Monday.

“The termination of electric service could result in the spoilage of millions of dollars in fresh and frozen meat products in the borrowers’ inventory,” the lawsuit says. “In addition, First Bank is informed and believes that millions of chicks and chickens in borrowers’ inventory are in danger of starving to death if they are not provided with appropriate feed and water.”

The judge’s order allows Atec to inspect Agriprocessors’ facilities to preserve the status quo, including the maintenance of refrigeration equipment so meat does not spoil, keeping animals watered and fed and paying necessary bills.

The Rubashkins were ordered to provide funds to pay the electric bill no later than noon Monday.

A spokesman for Agriprocessors, Chaim Abrahams, said Friday afternoon that it was not clear how the company would be affected by Friday’s events.

(Source: Gazette Online)

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