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Claims mount in Walla Walla Gardeners' Association bankruptcy

Claims against the 97-year-old Walla Walla Gardeners' Association in Walla Walla, WA, continue to mount after the onion and asparagus packer and shipper shut its doors in November 2012 following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

According to court documents, the dollar amount of unsecured nonpriority claims in late March surpassed $1.5 million, and the packing facility itself was bought by Sweet Clover Distribution of Walla Walla in early April.

The most recent court action came June 13 when, in an effort to recoup losses, several creditors were listed in a Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay. The bankruptcy's Automatic Stay hinders collection, while the Chapter 7 Motion for Relief filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Spokane, WA, states that the court "may grant relief sought without an actual hearing or further notice unless a written objection is served and filed within 17 days of the date" of the notice.

The document also specifies that "Onions Direct LLC, Gene Wheeler Farms Inc. and RCF Produce have filed papers with the court for Motion from Relief from the Automatic Stay to file amended complain to add additional plaintiffs and to add count against AmericanWest Bank for conversion of PACA assets."

In November 2012, nearly 20 pages of Schedule F documents showed the 97-year-old Walla Walla company owed just under $1.5 million to scores of creditors.

A separate summary of schedules filed in Eastern Washington Bankruptcy Court, which has locations in Yakima and Spokane, indicated assets in the amount of $1,577,465.10 and liabilities totaling $2,676,359.56. That summary included the unsecured nonpriority claims as well as secured claims for nearly $1 million and unsecured priority claims of $193,000.