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Kenai Landing hit with lawsuit

Argument arises over fish processing

Posted: Sunday, January 08, 2006

 

  Visitors walk the grounds at Kenai Landing last July. The new attraction had slower business than owners had hoped for last season. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Visitors walk the grounds at Kenai Landing last July. The new attraction had slower business than owners had hoped for last season.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Fisherman and seafood distributors filing a lawsuit against Kenai Landing claim it failed to fulfill a contract that obligated it to process their fish within the requirements of the Kenai Wild Brand. Alaska Salmon Purchasers Inc., Beijing United Johnson Technology and Trade, Carl Waggoner, Merrill McGahan, Myron McGahan, Merrill Maize McGahan and Alaska Wild Distributors have filed for breach of contract.

Plaintiffs claim Kenai Landing and its co-owners, John Faulkner and Stephen Agni, did not have the capacity to process the 72,000 pounds of fish a day, during peak season, within the requirements of Kenai Wild as they had committed to in a contract with Alaska Salmon Purchasers Inc.

Alaska Salmon Purchasers Inc. and the three fishermen contracted under them, who are also plaintiffs in the case, are participants in the Kenai Wild program and allege the defendant falsified the freshness of the fish and thereby damaged the roe, which could not then be sold. The lawsuit also claims that Kenai Landing refused to release their right to first refusal with Kenai Wild even after it became clear they could not meet their obligations and as a result prevented distributors in the suit from fulfilling their contracts.

But the defendants do not believe Kenai Landing failed to fulfill its obligations, said Jim Butler, council for Kenai Landing.

“We’re at a loss to understand the basis of the allegations,” Butler said. “We think it’s an attempt to get out of paying for fish that were processed by Kenai Landing.”

Alaska Salmon Purchasers Inc. was overdue on paying bills to the processor, failed to respond to requests for payment and filed a lawsuit instead, Butler said.

In addition, Butler said, only Kenai Wild can determine whether fish have been processed to meet their standards, and Kenai Landing has not received any indications from Kenai Wild that it failed to meet any of the standards.

Council for the plaintiffs declined to comment, and plaintiffs in the case could not be reached.



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