A complicated case where farmers and grain elevators are owed more than five million dollars for their crops continues.
Last year, the state Public Service Commission ordered Hunter Hanson to cease his grain trading business for failure to pay customers.
People who’ve been defrauded have a matter of weeks to file further claims against Hanson.
Meanwhile, one of the grain elevators he purchased is surrounded by piles of rotting crops that have neighbors up in arms.
Jim Olson went to Tunbridge – five miles west of Rugby – to see the mess.
It may look like a simple pile of snow at the end of a long winter. But look more closely and you’ll see peas – peas that are rotting away, eroding the patience of the people living nearby.
(Kimberly Morgan, Tunbridge Resident) “We’ve all been suffering because of this and nobody seems to know what to do with the rotting, moldy grain.”
(James Duchscherer, Tunbridge Resident) “Now it’s started to get moldy and he’s got it still scattered all over the road.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) “This is the crux of the problem. The snow is melting and it’s mixing with the grain that’s been piled up. That grain is rotting causing a big stink. And it’s a stink you can smell.”
(Kimberly Morgan, Tunbridge Resident) “It smells like poop. It smells like poop and it’s only going to get stronger because the snow’s starting to melt and the grain has gotten mixed in with this mountain of snow here so it’s only going to get worse.”
(David Migler, Pierce County Commissioner) “We knew it would happen with the odor and it’s thawing and kind of escalating and something needs to be done.”
County Commissioner David Migler says it was easy to see that a problem was developing after the owner of the elevator was ordered to stop trading grain last fall.
(David Migler, Pierce County Commissioner) “We’ve been making quite a few calls to PSC, Ag Commission, and trying to get this resolved.
And finally, after KX News contacted Migler about the situation, he made another round of calls Wednesday morning and finally got results. He says the Health Department has given permission for the grain and snow around the elevator to be hauled away.
Migler says that will happen Thursday.
In Tunbridge, Jim Olson, KX News.
County Commissioner Migler says a nearby farmer has agreed to have the rotting grain and peas will be dumped onto one of his fields.