States Seeks to Revoke Ohio Fresh Eggs Permits
A two-week revocation hearing brought by the state's department of agriculture against one of Ohio's largest egg producers is wound up Friday. ODA says Ohio Fresh Eggs did not disclose in its permit applications the name of a man labeled a 'habitual environmental violator.'
Ohio Fresh Eggs produces millions of eggs a day at facilities in Licking, Hardin, and Wyandotte counties. The company bought the former Buckeye Egg Farm facilities several years. But the state agriculture department says that during the permitting process, Ohio Fresh Eggs failed to disclose that Austin "Jack" DeCoster would be involved in the company. The State of Iowa says DeCoster is a 'habitual environmental violator.'
According to ODA's Melanie Wilt the state might not have approved the company's permits if it had known DeCoster would be involved.
In opening arguments June 6th, ODA's Scott Holkowski said records showed DeCoster had a $126 million stake in the operation. Ohio Fresh Eggs has denied DeCoster had any role in daily management.
Both sides now have several weeks to file briefs in the matter. Independent hearing officer Howard Silver will begin deliberating in October. A decision probably won't be announced until mid November, but challenges and appeals may delay the outcome for years.