What appears to be new are charges that Cawood and The Facility Group learned in early March 2003 from one of its design engineers that national beef producers considered the operation a “money pit” and that it might not be economically viable in the long run without enough livestock to support the kill facility for more than about 24 months.
“Beef producers feel’ the operation won’t last two years if it ever gets started,” the government claims the engineer’s memo stated.
The memo also speculated the state could face serious problems with its “unsecured loan.”
Cawood and The Facility Group reportedly concealed these warnings from the state and Community Bank, which made the plant loan based on a 100 percent state guarantee.
The new indictment states The Facility Group engineer further warned, “If we go in without control and an effective plan, we could be blamed for the failure.” The engineer then requested that Cawood “Please guard the confidential information.”
In March 2007, TFG and the executives were indicted by a federal grand jury on virtually the same charges.
In the count related to the campaign money, they are accused of getting employees to contribute to the campaign and then reimbursing them with beef plant payments.
They pleaded not guilty and were released on bond.
If convicted, they each face up to 305 years in prison, $4 million in fines and restitution for the amount of the losses.
NE MS Daily Journal