MAIDSTONE — A major tomato processer that was being sued by growers for breach of contract has gone into receivership.
Thomas Canning, based in the town of Maidstone, southeast of Windsor in Essex County, went into receivership in June of this year. A Toronto-based firm is taking over its assets.
The company had been plagued by problems over the last two years. The company and its owner, William Michael Thomas, were charged with nearly a dozen breaches of three separate federal statutes, including falsely labelling American tomatoes as Canadian, in March of this year.
The company received a $3-million dollar grant from the province to build a new plant in 2014. No new plant was ever constructed, though the money was used in a number of other company initiatives.
The tomatoes grown for that new plant by area farmers were left to rot in the fields after the company announced it couldn’t take all of them. Nine growers in Essex and Kent filed a $2.85-million lawsuit earlier this year against the company for breach of contract.