Blue Harvest Fisheries

Inlägg nr 7 av 20 i serien Fiskeriföretag i USA

Ett fiskeriföretag i Newport News som startades av William F Peabody år 1961. 1995 flyttade verksamheten till Newport News i Virginia efter 14 år i delstaten New Jersey. 1977 blev bolaget ett aktiebolag med namnet Peabody Corp. Företaget hade år 2002 8 stycken fiskebåtar som fiskade scallops, en sorts musslor. På svenska brukar de heta pilgrimsmusslor. Företaget har drivits som ett familjeföretag intill i år (2015) då det köptes av Bregal Partners och Jeff Davis. Den sistnämnde var tidigare chef för American Seafoods.

År 2006 avslöjades att företaget använde illegal arbetskraft i stor skala. Det märkliga med detta var att företaget betalade dem full US-amerikansk lön. De tycks ha anställt illegal arbetskraft för att de var mer pålitliga och inte för satt kunna betala lägre löner. William F Peabody och dottern Yvonne Michelle Peabody åtalades och erkände brott:

On Monday, Peabody Corp., its president and owner, William Francis Peabody, and his daughter, Yvonne Michelle Peabody, agreed in U.S. District Court to plead guilty and pay $6.9 million in forfeitures and fines as part of a plea deal with the government. That came after the U.S. Attorney’s office accused the company of employing 126 illegal immigrants between 2003 and 2007.

Yvonne Michelle Peabody could also be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison, while William Francis Peabody could be sentenced to up to six months in prison, federal prosecutors say.

U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Jackson has to decide whether to accept the plea deal, and must decide whether to impose the prison time, according to U.S. attorneys who prosecuted the case for the government. A sentencing date has been set for March 6.

Neither the Peabodys nor their attorney, John Early Holloway, had any comment after the court hearing Monday.

The Peabody Corp., which operates eight scallop trawlers out of Newport News Seafood Industrial Park at the end of Jefferson Avenue, was incorporated in New Jersey in 1977 and came to Virginia in 1995.

Between 2003 and November 2006, eight Peabody vessels made 322 fishing trips. A ”statement of facts” that both sides agreed to as part of Monday’s plea deal states that Peabody Corp. … ”employed aliens knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that at least 126 of the aliens entered or remained in the United States in violation of law.”

Many of the Mexican-born illegal immigrants relied on phony or stolen documents to get hired, using fraudulent Social Security cards or alien registration cards dozens of times. The IRS informed the company that 22 people had problems with their names and Social Security numbers, with ”nine (illegal immigrants) hired as crewmen again under the exact same names and social security numbers,” the court statement said.

Janice Lynell

Janice Lynell

Tidigare i år så köptes företaget, vilket redan nämnts, av Bregal Partners och Jeff Davis. Företaget har döpts om till Blue Harvest Fisheres. De fiskebåtar som de äger är Capt. Peabody, Miss Vertie May (135), Crystal & Rebecca, Abigail & Myles, Janice Lynell (196), Yvonne Michelle (167), Lauren & Matthew plus en till med okänt namn. Alla båtarna är uppkallade efter medlemmar i familjen Peabody. Det är inga stora båtar, men Blue Harvest äger en av de största scallopsflottorna i Virginia. Dessutom planeras fler köp av företag och fiskebåtar som fiskar pilgrimsmusslor (scallops). Bland de företag som Bregal Partners och Jeff Davis tittat på finns Wanchese Fish Company and Oceans Fleet Fisheries. Bregal Partners har tidigare också varit engagerade i affärer med  Icicle Seafoods och American Seafoods.

Bregal Partners är en del av Bregal Investments Inc som äga av den ursprungligen nederländska familjen Brenninkmeijer:

Perekslis co-founded Bregal Partners in 2012. He and his former Centre Partners colleague, Robert Bergmann, left Centre Partners, which had invested in Bumble Bee Foods and American Seafoods, to found Bregal Partners.

It is owned by Bregal Investments Inc., the corporate investment arm of a wealthy German-Dutch family, the Brenninkmeijers.

Bregal Partners had six companies in its portfolio, prior to the deal for Peabody.

These range from Aqua Terra Water Management, an independent merchant operator of saltwater disposal facilities, to Shock Doctor, a seller of protective and performance sports equipment sold around the world.

Perekslis, Bregman and Davis, who was also an operating partner with Centre Partners, have seafood experience with several companies.

When Bregal Partners was founded, Perekslis spoke of looking to the sector.

Centre Partners, along with a group of investors, bought Seattle-based Alaska pollock, cod and Pacific whiting harvester American Seafoods in 2000, selling its stake in 2006.

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