Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ron Juergens and his sisters have agreed to an out-of-court settlement for a multi-million-dollar lawsuit the sisters lodged against the man for alleged fraud and the mishandling of Juergens Produce and Feed in Carroll, according to court records.

Juergens, who was president of the company, and his four sisters declined to elaborate on the terms of the settlement. A judge dismissed the lawsuit last week.

Juergens’ sisters — Linda Kueper, of Papillion, Neb.; Shirley Fasbender, of St. Louis; Judy Spear, of Ames; and Gayle Toms, of Carroll — sued him last year for more than $5 million for alleged mismanagement of the company and family assets that might have enriched Juergens and his children since about 2004, court records show.

Juergens, 61, of Carroll, served as president of the company and sole trustee for his father Vernis Juergens, who launched the company, a livestock feed supplier, in 1945 and died in 2002.

The lawsuit accused Ron Juergens of giving himself excessive salaries, buying a trust-owned company for less than it was worth, selling trust-owned land to companies he and his children owned and then leasing the land back to Juergens Produce and Feed for hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and failing to pay for millions of dollars worth of feed he bought from Produce and Feed, among other alleged fraud schemes.

An expert witness for the sisters found:

— Juergens bought a family trust-owned company, Acme Pork, a hog-farming operation, for less than market value. He paid about  $278,000 in 2005 for half of the company, which later reported an annual income of $1.4 million, and then bought the second half of the company in 2006 for about $119,000. The accountant concluded that Juergens received about $600,000 in profit from Acme Pork that would have otherwise gone to the family trust.

— Acme Pork, in subsequent years, sustained losses of about $5 million, which Juergens apparently absorbed by failing to pay for feed the company bought from Produce and Feed. He has yet to pay the debt, court records show.

Juergens was removed as sole trustee of the family trust in June 2011, and a judge appointed his sisters to take his place.