Seems to me that Hanman was going to pay this back? Good article.
DFA reveals how $1M found way to ex-chairman
By MICHELLE MONROE
Messenger Staff Writer
ST. ALBANS — Additional details have become available regarding a secretive transfer of a million dollars from National Dairy Holdings to a former Dairy Farmers of America chairman.
The transfer has been an issue in two anti-trust suits filed against DFA.
The Messenger has learned that the wife of former National Dairy Holdings (NDH) chairman Alan Meyer signed a $1 million check given to former DFA board chairman Herman Brubaker.
The transfer of funds, minus information about how it was accomplished, was revealed on May 8, 2008, when DFA CEO Rick Smith sent a letter to DFA members informing them of the transfer. In the letter, Smith said the funds had been returned with interest.
The $1 million transfer to Brubaker has been cited in the anti-trust lawsuits as an example of how insiders within DFA and its associated companies have enriched themselves at the expense of farmers.
Condemning the transfer, Brad Keating, DFA’s chief operations officer for the Northeast, said, “It’s farmer literally taking from farmer.”
In interviews with the press conducted at the time, Smith said the transaction was discovered when DFA began to consolidate NDH’s books with its own.
“It was done off of DFA’s books which is how it went undiscovered,” Monica Massey, vice president of corporate communications for DFA, said in response to a Messenger inquiry.
The transfer took place in late December 2001, according to DFA.
When asked, Massey said the transfer had been initiated by Meyer and was made with NDH funds, not Meyer’s personal funds. The million dollars went from NDH to Meyer to Brubaker.
Smith acknowledged in 2008 that former DFA CEO Gary Hanman knew about the transfer.
Asked why Meyer provided Brubaker with a million dollars, both Massey and Keating declined to answer. “It would be speculation even to try to figure out why,” Keating said.
However, they denied the transfer was connected to the founding of National Dairy Holdings.
NDH was created in 2001 when Suiza, the largest milk bottler in the U.S., merged with Dean Foods, the second largest. Before approving the purchase, the Department of Justice (DOJ) required the new company to divest itself of 11 bottling plants.
DFA together with two former executives from Suiza, and Alan Meyer created National Dairy Holdings (NDH) and purchased the 11 plants. Mid Am Capital, LLC., a subsidiary of DFA, supplied NDH with $400 million in start-up capital.
According to documents filed in anti-trust against DFA in both the Southeast and the Northeast, Meyer contributed $5 million to the formation of NDH. He then became its CEO.
Meyer has been a key figure in the anti-trust allegations. According to the initial complaint filed in the Northeast case, the “DOJ has accused Meyer of operating as a functionary of DFA who colludes with DFA to eliminate competition while claiming to operate NDH as an independent competitor. The DOJ has specifically alleged that DFA and Meyer have ‘a long history of friendly and mutually profitable financial dealings.’”
Prior to taking the helm at NDH, Meyer had founded Southern Foods Group, LP, along with DFA. That company was folded into Suiza Dairy Group, a joint Suiza/DFA company in 2000. It was Suiza Dairy Group that purchased the Stop and Shop plant that was once the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery’s prime market for fluid milk.
Massey said Meyer was no longer associated with DFA as of January 2008.