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Cimino Brokerage files for bankruptcy protection

by Tim Linden | December 10, 2009
Cimino Brokerage Co., a firm based in Salinas, CA, that mostly sells broccoli, green onions and other vegetables grown in Mexico, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Jose, CA, in late November.

The petition lists Vincent Cimino as the responsible party and calls for the first creditor's meeting to be held Dec. 16, with proof of claims due three months later. The petition does not list the size of the current debt, but industry sources say it is a multi-million-dollar bankruptcy with the firm's bank, Wells Fargo, the largest creditor. No produce growers or shippers have yet emerged as creditors, though the bankruptcy petition includes a produce industry law firm and a foodservice operation as creditors.

Repeated calls to the Cimino office were not returned, but all indications were that the company is still operating. In fact, in its petition, Cimino Brokerage asks the court to allow it to use "cash collateral on an interim basis" and to "compel Wells Fargo Bank to turn over seized funds." These requests are consistent with a firm trying to create operating capital as it moves through the bankruptcy process.