ZEELAND — A federal judge ordered Boersen Farms Inc. to pay more than $19.5 million to a Cottonwood Heights, Utah-based firm it leased equipment from over a two-year period.
In an October judgment entered into court files last week, the U.S. District Court in Utah ruled in favor of equipment leasing firm TFG-Michigan LP, which does business as Tetra Financial Group, in a case against Zeeland-based Boersen Farms, related entities and its owners for breach of contract.
Tetra Financial had alleged that Boersen Farms failed to pay in full for $18.2 million in farming equipment it leased from 2013 through 2015, and sold some of the equipment without permission, pocketing the proceeds.
Dennis Boersen, Ross Boersen, Arlan Boersen and Sandy Boersen signed personal guarantees as part of the lease agreements.
Judge Ted Stewart ordered the defendants to pay $15.75 million in damages and more than $512,000 in interest for breach of contract, plus 18 percent interest annually until the judgment is paid in full.
Stewart also reinforced a previous order that the defendants return Tetra Financial’s equipment, deposit $477,500 from the sale of some equipment in a trust account and immediately stop using all of the equipment in question if it hadn’t already done so.
The judge also ordered that the Boersen Farms defendants pay more than $2.6 million in compensatory sanctions after they were found in contempt of court on Sept. 28 when they failed to comply with the prior order to stop using Tetra Financial’s equipment.
Additionally, Stewart said the defendants must pay $150,000 to cover Tetra Financial’s legal fees, costs and expenses.
The federal court in Utah registered the judgment in the Tetra Financial case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, with the filings entered this week.
Separately, a breach of contract case brought by agricultural giant Monsanto Co. against Boersen Farms continues to wind its way through the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Missouri. Court records show Boersen Farms has until Dec. 7 to respond to allegations that it never paid for more than $2.3 million in corn and soybean seeds it bought for the 2016 growing season.
As MiBiz previously reported, Boersen Farms was under court-appointed receivership in a federal case originally filed by Minnesota-based CHS Capital LLC alleging that the company owed more than $145 million for outstanding unpaid balances. CHS later transferred its interest in Boersen Farms’ unpaid debts to LT Capital LLC, which moved to dismiss the case.
The registered agent for LT Capital is Brian Terborg, the CFO at Zeeland Farm Services Inc.