Easterday Creditors to Get $11 Million

Bankruptcy Plan Confirmed for Easterday Ranch at Center of 'Ghost-Cattle' Scam


By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive Farmer



LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings for Washington-based Easterday Ranches and Easterday Farms are nearing completion as a federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday confirmed an $11 million settlement with 65 creditors.


Cody Allen Easterday, former owner and operator of the eastern Washington operation, is facing up to 20 years in prison after a guilty plea on charges of defrauding Tyson Fresh Meats and another unnamed company of $244 million in buying and feeding hundreds of thousands of cattle that didn't exist.


In addition to the criminal court proceedings yet to be resolved, Easterday has been working with attorneys in the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of his ranches and farms.


According to the bankruptcy settlement filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Washington, the McGregor Company, a crop inputs provider in the Pacific Northwest, is listed as the largest creditor on the Easterday farm side and is expected to receive about $4 million from the settlement. That is followed by John Deere Financial at $2.3 million and DLL Finance LLC at $1.4 million.


At this point, Rabo AgriFinance LLC is the lone holdout in finalizing the settlement.


Rabobank is trying to collect nearly $1.1 million owed it by Easterday. It is unknown whether Rabobank will hold up the settlement, as court records indicate the company is able to maintain its claim even if other creditors agree to the settlement.


The Easterday Ranches portion of the bankruptcy proceedings is ongoing, as Tyson is seeking more than $225 million in claims, and Washington real estate company Segale Properties has more than $25 million in outstanding claims.


About 18,000 acres of Easterday land was sold for $209 million at auction to AgriNorthwest, the investment segment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


Easterday's criminal sentencing was moved from June 13 to Sept. 19 after the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Washington granted an Easterday motion to continue. The former rancher asked for the delay to complete bankruptcy proceedings.


In addition, the legal proceedings in a lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against Easterday have been stayed until Aug. 10...