The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed a $2 million lien against Golden Guernsey for unpaid employee wages in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is also seeking a 5 percent interest rate on money owed to 112 employees who were left without a job when the dairy closed with no warning. The company, owned by OpenGate Capital in California, filed for bankruptcy, blaming high costs from suppliers and union employees.
Golden Guernsey declared bankruptcy on Tuesday. A news release from OpenGate Capital states that Golden Guernsey sales increased by 20 percent, but expenses were exceeding the revenues.
Employees were left without answers when the plant shut down. One employee, Robert Storm, has filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development because the employees did not receive 60 days notice before they lost their jobs.
“Please look into OpenGate Capital,” Storm wrote in his complaint. “They are an investment firm with other assets and because they had no idea how to get milk from the teat to the table is the DOJ’s fault for not wanting someone with dairy business purchasing the plant when they and (former U.S. Sen. Russ) Feingold got the wheels in motion.”
The company started in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative in Milwaukee, and by 1935, Golden Guernsey delivered milk to the homes of 20,000 customers in Wisconsin, according to its website. By 1955, construction began at its current facility at 2101 Delafield St.
Dean Foods was ordered to sell the plant by the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Justice in order to settle an antitrust lawsuit because Dean Foods owned about 60 percent of milk processing plants in the state. an investment firm that planned to continue operations of the dairy processing facility.