Gold Digger Apples files for bankruptcy

U.S. Bank demanding repayment of $18.6 million

OROVILLE – One of Oroville’s largest employers, Gold Digger Apples Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection in federal district court in Spokane last Thursday, May 27, while U.S. Bank seeks more than $18 million loan repayment.

“We filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to protect the growers. We are still somewhat in negotiations though,” said Peg Callaway, the attorney representing the growers’ cooperative.

U.S. Bank is demanding repayment of a loan and has not responded to the co-op’s latest offer where a lessor has made an offer to purchase the loan, according to Callaway.

“They’ve been working with this group for 18 years and Greg Moser has killed himself for the last five months trying to follow every lead,” said Callaway.

Moser is the co-op’s general manager.

U.S. Bank National Association filed a lawsuit against Gold Digger Apples Inc. et al on Friday, May 20, 2016 demanding repayment of $18,586,000. Included in the suit along with Gold Digger Apples Inc. were Kernan Orchards Inc., Carbon Cycle Crush LLC and Oroville Reman & Reload, according to the filing.

“This is a devastating blow to the community, seasonably Gold Digger employs up to 800 employees. I hope there’s some real PR damage to the bank it’s hideous, it’s everything you’ve heard about big banks… and I’m not talking about the local branch,” said the attorney.

According to the co-op’s website, While there were once a dozen warehouses and fruit packing facilities in Oroville, eventually they all merged into one under the Gold Digger name making it the sole fruit packing, storing and shipping facility in Oroville and the last grower-owned co-op in Okanogan County. Gold Digger has numerous members and non-members that bring their fruit to be stored, packed and shipped at their facilities. The co-op specializes in apples, cherries and pears and also manages 700 acres of fruit on its own.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation proceeding in which the debtor’s non-exempt assets, if there are any, are sold by the Chapter 7 trustee and the proceeds distributed to creditors according to the priorities established in the Bankruptcy Code.

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About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.