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Trial for Arkansas Grain Company Collapse Underway

Lawsuit involves Turner Grain and its founder, KBX Inc.

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A bad business plan, coupled with a scheme of a grain dealer, led to the 2014 collapse of Turner Grain Merchandising and caused a group of Lonoke County rice farmers to sustain losses in the millions of dollars, an attorney said Monday.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, in an hour-long opening statement, Kendel W. Grooms, an attorney representing the farmers in a civil lawsuit, said the case involved "lies, conspiracy, fraud, scheme, secrets and intentional destruction of evidence."

The lawsuit, now before a jury in Lonoke County Circuit Court, pits farmers against entities of Turner Grain; its founders; KBX Inc., a grain dealer and exporter in Benton; a former Turner Grain employee, and three people with KBX.

The farmer plaintiffs contend that Turner Grain was an agent of KBX, and that KBX knew of Turner's financial problems but didn't alert farmers. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified award of compensatory and punitive damages.

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