Quarles encourages participation in burley case

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The court ordered dissolution of the Burley Co-op is nearing the last stages of the legal process. I hope all potential class members have submitted the required documents.

The information notice sent in December set the deadline as Jan. 29 to submit those documents. A “fairness” hearing to allow objections to any part of the mediated settlement as well as comments on the potential 25 percent reward fees to the plaintiffs’ lawyers will be held Feb. 24. The deadline to submit comments was noticed to be Jan. 29 as well.

Several letters of objections have been received by the court. Per the proposed settlement an amount of $1.5 million is to be gifted from each Co-op member’s personal asset portion to go to yet an unnamed new organization for advocacy of burley and dark growers. All members will be assessed this portion– approximately 7 percent of your potential payment from remaining coop assets – it will be several hundreds of dollars in any event taken from you.

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You will no longer have any claim to your money or its use if this is allowed to continue. It appears the initial directors will be nearly the same as the current coop directors. Many growers object to this taking of their personal portion especially since the Council for Burley Tobacco already does the needed advocacy work since 1971. All retired growers (app 75% of the potential class) will suffer this deduction as well with obviously no hope of any returns.

A lawyer, Hank Graddy, has been engaged to speak on behalf of anyone that objects on Feb. 24 at the hearing. You don’t have to attend nor will it cost you any money. His retainer has been funded by me personally to date. If you wish to be included in his list of objecting growers, please send your name/address to myself quarlesnet@aol.com or his office hgraddy@graddylaw.com as soon as possible. Phone calls are welcome to me at 859-948-6281.

Roger Quarles