Rotten Tomatoes: Scandal Strikes Tomato-Paste Industry

According to Slate.com, “The feds had been investigating his tomato-processing company for more than four years, but Scott Salyer was apparently taken by surprise when the FBI nabbed him at JFK Airport last month. Salyer, who flies his own jet, had been traveling to Paraguay and Andorra, among other locales, looking for an extradition-safe home. He was visiting the United States to see his newborn grandson when the investigation closed in on him.”

“Prosecutors have assembled a mountain of evidence against Salyer and his company, SK Foods, including tapes in which the 54-year-old orders his underlings to bribe purchasing agents from major food companies such as Kraft, Frito-Lay, Safeway, and Cargill. In some of these conversations, he sounds more like a mafia don than a prince of tomatoes. After a salesman tells Salyer that a buyer at a major food company “needs a retirement program,” Salyer responds, “How fast are you going to reel in that fish? I want that sucker on speed reel.” He was trying, desperately and aggressively, to keep tomato-paste contracts out of the hands of his rivals and to unload paste that was a bit moldy or watered-down.”