Part-Owner Claims He Was Wrongly Excluded from Food Processing Business

Alex Press claimed in a complaint filed on Wednesday that after his efforts creating Sierra Food Group, the defendants usurped his position by creating a rule that employees must live in the state of California. Sierra Food Group processes nuts and fruits to sell to restaurants and grocers.

The plaintiff, represented by Webb Law Group, APC, claimed others involved in the company breached their fiduciary duties and the company’s bylaws in unfair business practices. He also asked the court to request the business’ records and accused the defendants of taking his potential business opportunities. In the complaint, he requested for at least $500,000 in compensatory damages, and other damages as the court deems fit.

Press said in his Fresno County case that he is a shareholder of the company. He initially owned 25 percent of the privately-held company and supplied many of the machines personally. The plaintiff claimed in the petition that he initiated the production of glace apricots after talking with Alan Sipole at a food show, this idea was allegedly the beginning of Sierra Food Group. He started the company with Rodney Walker, who he had previously worked with at Walker Snack Pack.

The company grew and eventually was worth $10 million annually. Press claimed that he put in additional lines and brought in new clients. He then moved to Colorado to raise his children, but continued to be involved in Sierra Food Group and visited the location often. He also continued to acquire equipment for the company personally, which he thought would help the business grow.

After the company encountered financial issues, Keith Kramer became CEO; and, according to the complaint, asked that Press remove his equipment. Shortly after, the board voted to only allow employees who lived in the state of California. Press declared this “was an intentional act done to remove Press from the company.”

Press expressed that he had suspicions that the other shareholders were working without him. They allegedly founded Nordhaven, which acquired the company’s debt without a shareholder meeting. Sierra Food Group continued to encounter financial issues and Press found a potential acquirer. The company refused to meet with them but sold the business to another acquirer a few months later. Afterward, Nordhaven sent Press a proposal he did not agree with to accelerate foreclosure. After his objection, Nordhaven foreclosed and took possession of Sierra Food Group’s assets.

“The individual defendants have pursued, or joined in the pursuit of, a common course of conduct and have acted in concert with and conspired with one another in furtherance of their wrongdoing,” the complaint stated, claiming they helped each other breach their duties to Sierra Food Group.