Grain Elevator Assets to Be Sold After Millions of Dollars Went Missing

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday that, “The members of a Minnesota farmers’ cooperative have voted to dissolve and sell the cooperative’s assets after the former elevator manager allegedly stole millions of dollars before disappearing in September.

“The Ashby (Minnesota) Farmers Cooperative discovered it was in trouble in early September when it was uncovered that the long-time former manager, Jerry Hennessey, had written millions of dollars in unauthorized checks. Erik Ahlgren, an attorney hired by the cooperative, said Thursday auditors have identified $4.9 million in unauthorized checks.

“‘I can’t tell you it’s a final figure,’ Ahlgren said. ‘There certainly could be more. I don’t think we have found all the problems yet, and we may never actually learn all of the problems.'”

The DTN article noted that, “Hennessey is a big-game hunter known for taking safari trips overseas, and at least some of the lost cooperative funds went to pay a Cabela’s credit card, taxidermy services and hunting trips. So far, Hennessey remains in hiding from state and county investigators.”

Mr. Clayton added that, “Minnesota requires bonding, but the bond for the cooperative is valued at $125,000. Farmers can file claims with the state, but officials won’t know the total projected losses until roughly five months from now. The pool of claims is determined, then divided pro rata among all of those who file.”

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