Troubled South Dakota grain elevator to be sold


GREGORY, S.D. (AP) — Patrons of a financially troubled cooperative grain elevator in the southeastern South Dakota city of Gregory have decided to sell the facility to an East Coast-based company to keep it in business.

Gregory Farmers Elevator's patrons voted 63-4 on Monday to sell the facility to Interstate Commodities Inc., of Troy, N.Y., for $555,000, The Daily Republic newspaper reported ( ).

"It gives a positive outlook for Gregory to give the elevator working capital," board member Jessy Diggins said. "(Interstate Commodities) has the funds to expand and make it better."

A lack of working capital was one of the reasons cited by state regulators last month when they revoked the elevator's grain buyer and warehouse licenses.

"Working capital was gone and we saw no hope of recovering that money," Jim Mehlhaff, director of the Public Utilities Commission's grain and warehouse division, said during the meeting Monday night.

The Gregory elevator has had various financial problems, including alleged embezzlement by a former manager. Melissa Vosika has pleaded not guilty to embezzlement and attempted embezzlement, altering corporate records and forgery.

President Greg Oberting said Interstate Commodities has been in the grain business for 66 years. It also recently bought an elevator in the southeastern South Dakota town of White Lake.

"It's a third-generation, family owned business," Oberting said to elevator patrons. "We have a large presence throughout the United States in shipping and selling grain and grain products."


Information from: The Daily Republic,

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