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UMB Bank, Express Grain ask court to protect Express Grain from MS Department of Agriculture fraud investigation

Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 12:21 pm News Flash Archive

Yesterday afternoon, both UMB Bank and Express Grain filed motions to block the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) from pursuing its investigation and possible license revocation of Express Grain and John Coleman its president.

Express Grain has filed bankruptcy, owing around $70 million to UMB Bank, and another $40 million to farmers who it did not pay for the grain they delivered to the Express Grain warehouses last September.

MDAC had previously requested the bankruptcy court's permission to investigate its discovery that Express Grain had filed falsified financial audits with the Department when it renewed its licenses last year. MDAC claims that the audit reports were deliberately tampered with, and has filed under seal with the court the actual audit report prepared by the accounting firm of HORNE LLP, and the altered version filed by Express Grain to MDAC.

To view The Taxpayers Channel's original reporting on MDAC's claims, please see here: Mississippi Department of Agriculture investigating Express Grain for false filings

Several groups of farmers, as well as the production lenders, have already filed requests for the court to allow the investigation to proceed. The Farmers in particular have argued that the alleged fraud concealed EG's true financial state, and caused them to continue to do business with EG, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of loss to the farmers.

But yesterday, both UMB Bank and Express Grain filed objections to MDAC's request to investigate and possibly revoke Express Grain's licenses to conduct business.

The UMB Bank and Express Grain filings may be seen here:

UMB Bank Motion re: MS Department of Agriculture investigation

Express Grain Motion re: MS Department of Agriculture investigation

Both UMB Bank and EG claim that if MDAC revokes EG's licenses, that will harm EG, and the creditors, as well as the employees.

They also claim that, since the health and safety of the community are not at issue, the bankruptcy code does not permit MDAC to pursue its investigation and revocation process while the bankruptcy is pending.

Finally, they claim that the licenses that EG now possesses are part of the "property" of the EG bankruptcy estate, and are valuable assets that are under the bankruptcy court's protection from MDAC's regulatory and police powers.

In response to these objections, the court has moved the hearing on MDAC's request from January 6th to January 25th.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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