The Federal Sentencing Of Salyer—The Lead Figure In
The Government's Labyrinthine "Operation Rotten Tomato” Case—
Has Been Postponed Until February 5, 2013 – Three Years To The
Date of His Arrest

Supporters of Scott Salyer, former owner of SK Foods LP, have unearthed a crucial detail that could prove a bombshell in his case. They allege that food broker Randall Rahal, whose reported bribes and kickbacks on Salyer's behalf are a crucial part of the incriminating evidence against Salyer, had an established history of bribes in the industry long before he began his relationship with SK Foods.

Salyer remains on house arrest in Pebble Beach, California awaiting Federal Sentencing, which has now been postponed until February 5, 2013—three years to the day of his arrest in February 2010, which paved the way for the notorious, corrupt soap opera of a government case known as "Operation Rotten Tomato.” His new sentencing date ironically coincides with the annual tomato industry conference—by the California League of Food Processors (CLFP) in Sacramento on February 5-6.

According to Salyer's plea agreement, from "January 2004 to April 2008, Mr. Salyer encouraged Rahal to pay bribes and kickbacks to purchasing officers employed by SK Foods's customers Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay and B&G Foods. The intent was to induce Kraft's Robert Watson, Frito-Lay's Richard Wahl and B&G's Robert Turner to promote the interests of SK Foods over their employers' interests.”

According to Salyer's supporters, however, checks written by Randall Rahal or his CPA, Gary Ferrentino (of Weiss, Moskowitz & Ferrentino) to the wife of a B&G Foods employee date back to at least as early as 2004. SK Foods LP was never a supplier of anything to B&G until 2006 and again in 2007.

SK supplied small quantities of industrial chili sauce, but no processed tomatoes nor tomato paste, to B&G. Morning Star Packing Company supplied 100 percent of B&G's tomato paste through their broker, Hartog Rahal Foods, Inc. of New York, NY (Randall Rahal's uncle) and John Lidestri Jr., son of John Lidestri, partner of Chris Rufer at The Morning Star Packing Co. This began prior to 2004.

Further, Salyer's supporters claim that via Randall Rahal of Intramark, SK Foods provided only a very small supply of industrial chili sauce, created by SK Foods, and manufactured at the SK Foods LP factory and delivered to B&G Foods as industrial chili sauce, not processed tomatoes nor tomato paste. This took place only in 2006 and 2007, while checks issued to the wife of Robert Turner date from 2004. Hartog Rahal was found liable for providing contaminated food to Kraft, Nestlé and others in 2005.

Rahal, who was one of 26 brokers who represented products of SK Foods from time to time, said in his testimony that he began writing checks to food company buyers in 1988. Wahl, Watson and Turner purchased a variety of ingredients through Rahal that include balsamic vinegar, almonds, frozen spinach, olive oil, safflower, orange, apple and prune juice concentrate and tomato paste.

Intramark records indicate that Randall Rahal represented JG Boswell Co., known for their cotton empire and which, as one of the nation's largest tomato growers, joined the tomato processing industry with their brand, Rio Bravo Tomato, as well as Safflower oil, since at least 1992. At Rahal's insistence and request, he traveled to the 1994 National Cotton Convention specifically to try to meet Scott Salyer, even though Rahal was not involved in cotton.

The Department of Justice insists that based on Rahal's testimony, all checks ever written by Randall Rahal were in order to pay bribes on behalf of SK Foods LP and no other suppliers nor for any plausible reason other than bribes. The facts of the case proved that no checks other than one $2,000 check written in July of 2007 could be traced to SK Foods LP at all; thus, the Plea Agreement was based on this one check.

Scott Salyer was first informed of Randall Rahal's practice of writing checks to food buyers on April 14, 2008, making it impossible for Mr. Salyer to have known in anyway shape or form nor to have been able to direct it. Based on this information, Salyer's supporters believe that government workers participated in a scheme that included Morning Star and their partners, Morning Star's food broker, their food broker's nephew and the son of one of Morning Star's partners.

Chris Rufer of The Morning Star Packing Company, John LiDestri and JG Boswell are partners.

The scheme, they say, resulted in the railroading of Scott Salyer in order to steal the businesses he built by tainting SK Foods LP's impeccable business practices with Randall Rahal and then causing his death or long term imprisonment.

In other news, according to Salyer's supporters, another executive who knows Salyer well--and knows the facts of the malfeasance perpetrated against Salyer through his own sources--was jailed for a week with no explanation in Turkey, where he lives with his Turkish wife and runs MERKO Tomato.

He said he would like to help Salyer; however, Chris Rufer has put in place Board Members on all of the world's tomato processing consortiums and associations, and in that way has gained 100 percent control of the global processed tomato industry. Salyer's supporters believe this is an anti-trust violation. How is it possible, they wonder, that the largest tomato processor in the country and possibly the world, would falsely accuse SK Foods, which was only the second nationally and fourth ranked globally, of Anti-Trust when they already had a monopoly?

Salyer's supporters claim that Morning Star illegally used the Federal Export License granted to CTEG, California Tomato Export Group that included SK Foods LP, Los Gatos and Ingomar Packing Co, by the Department of Commerce to eliminate a competitor that had achieved something masterful. In retaliation for an Anti-trust claim brought against Morning Star, John Lidestri and their partners--including JG Boswell Company and the loan guarantor for Morning Star's Wells Fargo loan, HJ Heinz—SK Foods LP's attorney Brian Maschler of Gordon and Reese of San Francisco, advised Salyer that to just let them be would in fact implicate SK Foods LP.

By Salyer's attorney following the law, Salyer found himself a target of special interest groups with powerful friends in high places with the capability of making false claims, gaining indictments based on false claims and then insuring that the evidence is never put in the public sphere--including before a jury. They can also publish false stories in the news media under their domain, such as the Los Angeles Times, and then distribute the story globally, which according to Salyer's supporters is precisely what happened.