Executives with the Iowa egg farms at the center of last year’s salmonella outbreak that sickened nearly 2,000 and led to the recall of 500 million eggs are locked in a legal battle.
Austin "Jack" DeCoster, the man who owns the egg farms, and his former right-hand man, John Glessner are bickering to the tune of $40 million in lawsuits.
In one lawsuit Glessner claims that the DeCoster family has mismanaged its Iowa egg production facilities and deprived him of more than $40 million, including more than $10 million in rent for use of his Hardin County facility, defaulted on bank loans, been "blackballed" by food vendors and been barred from bidding on contracts with retailers.
Clark Kauffman of The Des Moines Register writes in today’s USA Today that DeCoster’s Ohio Fresh Egg company is suing Glessner, accusing him of looting the company before he was fired this summer.
An executive with Hillandale Farms of Iowa, which was forced to recall 170 million eggs, sent an e-mail to Glessner in August 2010 saying DeCoster had become a liability to Hillandale.
"Unfortunately, Hillandale Farms can have absolutely no association with Jack, anywhere," wrote Orland Bethel, Hillandale’s founder. "We have been told by Costco and Wal-Mart that they will not be doing any business if Jack and his people have any involvement in management."