Todd Gerig, 36, rural West Unity, one of three men indicted in connection with the financial collapse of the Archbold Elevator, has entered a plea of no contest.
ScottHaselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, said in a press release Gerig entered the plea, Thursday, Sept. 19, to a single count of violating laws concerning delayed price agreements in Fulton County Common Pleas Court.
When a defendant enters a no contest plea, they do not admit to guilt, but admit the truth of the charges against them.
He was found guilty at the Thursday court hearing. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered.
The charge against Gerig, a former elevator employee, was amended from a fifth-degree felony to a first-degree misdemeanor.
Haselman said the potential sentence for a first-degree misdemeanor violation of rules concerning delayed price agreements includes incarceration of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
Gerig was indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury, Monday, April 15, along with William L. “Bill” Fricke, 55, Pettisville, former Archbold Elevator owner, and Steven A. Brink, 60, Archbold, an employee.
Gerig and Brink were originally indicted on one count each of tampering with evidence, grand theft, falsification, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and violations of laws related to delayed price agreements.
Each was also charged with four counts of insolvent handler not to accept deposits, for a total of nine counts each, all felonies.
Haselman said the eight other charges against Gerig will be dropped.
In his release, Haselman said, “On or about April 5, 2011, while an employee at Archbold Elevator, Gerig engaged in conduct that if successful, would have resulted in failure to maintain commodities purchased under a delayed price agreement.”
Fricke, originally indicted on 11 counts, pled either guilty or no contest to seven charges.
He is awaiting sentencing.
Brink has not entered into a negotiated plea with prosecutors.
Trouble for Archbold Elevator began in 2011, when on April 11, the Ohio Department of agriculture suspended the elevator license to handle grain after a routine inspection of the company books.
ODA officials said at the time, Archbold Elevator records showed the company had liabilities significantly higher than available assets, and that 50,000 bushels of corn supposedly stored in elevator bins were missing.
The day after the license was suspended, Farmers & Merchants State Bank filed a $4.9 million lawsuit against Fricke, Archbold Elevator, and several related companies.
A receiver was appointed, and the assets of the companies were sold. Fricke attempted to buy back some of the businesses using unconventional financing, but his efforts were rejected by James Barber, Fulton County Common Pleas Court judge.
F&M, a secured creditor, was repaid, and other major creditors received partial repayment of the money owed them.
Today, the grain elevator is owned and operated by the Gerald Grain Center. Gerald Grain purchased the buildings and grain bins on the west side of Archbold in October 2011 for $2.38 million.