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Published December 30, 2013, 06:18 PM

ND PSC recommends paying 7 of 9 claims against insolvent grain company

The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Monday approved a motion that could lead to the reimbursement of several people with claims against an insolvent grain company.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Monday approved a motion that could lead to the reimbursement of several people with claims against an insolvent grain company.

The PSC voted to recommend to district court that seven of nine claimants against the insolvent Falkirk Farmers Elevator receive payment. The seven claims total just under $280,000, according to information released late Monday afternoon by the PSC.

Under state law, each of these claimants is eligible to receive 80 percent reimbursement from an indemnity fund.

A hearing on the PSC recommendation is scheduled for March 13 in the Burleigh County (N.D.) Courthouse. A district court must approve the PSC recommendation before money from the indemnity fund can be distributed, according to the PSC.

Claims totaling nearly $2 million were filed against the elevator.

Of the two remaining claims, one was ruled invalid and the other, a $1.7 million claim, is related to litigation in federal court, the PSC said.

In what Commissioner Randy Christmann called a “new and unique approach,” the $1.7 million claim against trust assets was separated from the other eight claims, which are against the indemnity fund.

“Issues related to that claim against the trust fund are part of a case in federal court and could take a long time to resolve, but there is no reason to delay payment” to the seven claimants seeking reimbursement from the indemnity fund, he said.

“Today’s action is good news for the farmers who have been waiting for well over a year for payment for the grain they sold,” Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said. “No one wins in an insolvency. But this approach allowed us to resolve a bulk of the claims while work on the unrelated, outstanding legal issues of the remaining claim continues.”

Last year, Falkirk Farmers Elevator was declared insolvent and later liquidated. Some customers lost access to large amounts of fertilizer they’d already purchased.

In September 2012, SRS Commodities of Mayville, N.D., bought the Falkirk grain elevator.

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