The Triple V Dairy and Calf Ranch located in Tulare is facing bankruptcy for the second time. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA21) has been named in both suits.
In November Rabobank filed a civil suit against Triple V Dairy and Calf Ranch for defaulting on additional loans.
The dairy owes $2.3 million for feed/herd loans including interest accrued approaching nearly $2.7 million, according to a lawsuit filed by Rabobank. In addition, the dairy business owes $5.9 million on herd growth loans which also includes more than $65 thousand in accrued interest.
A second lawsuit has now been filed in San Joaquin County against the dairy by Lawley’s Inc., an animal nutrition company operating out of Stockton.
The lawsuit accuses Triple V of breaking an oral agreement to pay for nutrition and immunization products it bought on credit between March 2017 and January 2018. The farm’s owners failed to disclose the business was in “dire financial circumstances” due to its defaulted loans, according to the lawsuit.
According to the most recent 2016 disclosure report, Congressman David Valadao holds between $1 million and $5 million in stakes as a general partner in the dairy
Triple V Dairy operates on 640 acres owned by Western Milling LLC, an animal feed company located in Goshen. Western Milling acquired the property under the dairy following a bankruptcy filed by Alvin Souza Jr. Dairies in 2012.
Western Milling was not named in the lawsuit against Triple V.
Starting in 2018 orders through Lawley’s expanded serving Triple V businesses in New Mexico, Washington, and California. The lawsuit says Frank Garcia, owner of Triple V, was solely responsible for all orders.
The lawsuit states that Lawley’s salesman, who has been close friends with Triple V Dairy owners for more than 15 years, repeatedly asked Garcia to fill out the credit application for Lawley’s but he never did.
A million dollars worth of product was allegedly delivered but never paid for by Triple V Dairy.
In a comment by Lawley’s salesman he said, “I’ve known Frank Garcia for many years, I didn’t at the time have any reason to think he was misleading our company. I feel like a lot of dairyman are struggling and doing the best they can.”
Triple V Dairy was founded in 2009 by Frank Garcia, and his wife Lisa. Valadao is named as a defendant in the two suits against Triple V Dairy because he is a partner in the dairy along with his brother. The three-term congressman is also a partner in a separate Hanford dairy run by his family, Valadao Dairy, which is not named in the lawsuits.
Anna Vetter, Communications Director for Valadao said that he is not a managing partner in Triple V and is not involved in the farm’s day-to-day operations.
California Dairy business in general is facing hard financial times. Europe has increased its milk production yet there has been a decrease in demand from several big international buyers, which has led to drop in the price of milk.
At the same time, increasing labor costs have made dairy farms more difficult to operate.