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Ex Blue Bell CEO charged with criminal conspiracy

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https://www.statesman.com/business/20200501/former-blue-bell-ceo-charged-with-conspiracy

 

The former chief executive of Blue Bell Creameries has been charged with criminal conspiracy stemming from the 2015 listeria outbreak at its ice cream plants that killed three people.

Paul Kruse, who retired three years ago, participated in a conspiracy to conceal “potential and/or confirmed listeria contamination in Blue Bell products from certain Blue Bell customers,” according to federal prosecutors, who filed the charges Friday in U.S. District Court in Travis County.

According to the charges, other Blue Bell employees — “known and unknown” — also participated in it.

Blue Bell, one of the country’s largest ice cream makers, is based in Brenham.

According to the federal charges, the goal of the conspiracy “was to obtain money from Blue Bell’s customers by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises.”

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Doing the right thing is at the core of the business philosophy at Blue Bell Creameries, from using only the highest quality ingredients in their famous frozen desserts, to keeping carton sizes at a half-gallon in the face of downsizing and cost cutting by virtually every other major ice cream manufacturer in the country. Part of that philosophy also involves giving back to the people and organizations that have made Blue Bell a success. Recently, Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse ’77 announced that he and the company would jointly support another Texas icon: Texas A&M University. The gift of $500,000, matched by funds from Peggy and Lowry Mays ’57, will establish the Blue Bell Creameries Chair in Business at A&M’s Mays Business School in the total amount of $1 million

https://mays.tamu.edu/news/tag/paul-kruse/

I guess doing the right thing doesn't include telling people that your product could kill them.  Never lie, cheat, steal...

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, stone oak said:

spacer.png

oops

800px-BlueBellParkEXTERIOR.JPG

aggy never lies, cheats, or steals

Edited by WBT

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Posted (edited)

It's long been known that they knew about the contamination and tried to conceal it. Glad they may finally be held accountable for their conduct.  

Edited by UrbanAchiever

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5 minutes ago, Rip76 said:

So basically Blue Bell = China.

Nope, racist.  Brue Berrl=China

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Funny how you read the article snip and get to "Kruse '77" and then you know...oh, snap, he's an aggy.

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the blue bell licker got 30 days in jail and 2 years probation.  i bet that's more than this asshole gets.

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Quote

"We look forward to telling the whole story of how my client along with all of the other employees of Blue Bell did the best they could with the information they had at the time,” 

And just like both bonfire collapses and the last 80 years of football, their best was not good enough.

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My dad lives in a nursing home complex in Brenham called Kruse Village...so, this hits close to (dad's) home.

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Posted (edited)

779F8FDE-B77E-4453-B20D-6A53D66A3511.png.4c7adc812104c0a04962183d3d5445d6.png
 

you know, I think I can count on one hand how many times I have purchased Blue Bell products since the outbreak in 2015

Edited by Doc Reeves

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24 minutes ago, Doc Reeves said:

779F8FDE-B77E-4453-B20D-6A53D66A3511.png.4c7adc812104c0a04962183d3d5445d6.png
 

you know, I think I can count on one hand how many times I have purchased Blue Bell products since the outbreak in 2015

Same.   HEB makes plenty of flavors we like, and the price is right.   

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6 hours ago, Doc Reeves said:

779F8FDE-B77E-4453-B20D-6A53D66A3511.png.4c7adc812104c0a04962183d3d5445d6.png
 

you know, I think I can count on one hand how many times I have purchased Blue Bell products since the outbreak in 2015

zero for me

5 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

Same.   HEB makes plenty of flavors we like, and the price is right.   

yeppers

4 hours ago, WithoutAClue said:

does this mean i can start buying Blue Bell ice cream again?

nopers

52 minutes ago, Native Horn said:

Creamy Creations FTW

yeppers

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Never thought I'd see the fucking day they actually brought charges. I haven't bought BB since the murders.

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9 hours ago, 4th&Five said:

the blue bell licker got 30 days in jail and 2 years probation.  i bet that's more than this asshole gets.

ex ceo should get the death penalty 

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5 hours ago, tx 3 putt said:

ex ceo should get the death penalty 

He should be confined to a Covid-riddled nursing home and fed a few cartons of his contaminated product.

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HEB nailed their homemade vanilla version, but no one else hasn't gotten Dutch Chocolate right yet.

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I was wondering why this guy is still associated with blue bell with this indictment. What company allows that. Being ignorant of their ownership, I just looked it up. Kruse is part of the family that has long owned the company. The Bass family also has a piece of it, or at least one of them does. No wonder kruse isn’t out on his ass.

I haven’t touched blue bell since their problems surfaced and what seemed to be a poor, initial response. My recollection was that they denied or downplayed the problems. Food companies should have a priority with food safety and I have no acceptance of crisis management bs when you fail at job 1.

as for the delay in an indictment, It could be that someone approached the feds with information.

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While it seems like criminal charges may be appropriate here, I find it dismaying that the feds are doing it.  Nothing federal about this crime.  Not sure why staties couldn't have handled it.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

While it seems like criminal charges may be appropriate here, I find it dismaying that the feds are doing it.  Nothing federal about this crime.  Not sure why staties couldn't have handled it.

The Texas AG office going after a Texas business leader/family? Really? In some cases the feds have to jump in when justice isn’t occurring.

I would also guess that blue bell was given an opportunity to pay a fine but refused, daring the feds to indict the ceo. 

Edited by Nice Guy Eddie

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Nice Guy Eddie said:

The Texas AG office going after a Texas business leader/family? Really? In some cases the feds have to jump in when justice isn’t occurring.

I would also guess that blue bell was given an opportunity to pay a fine but refused, daring the feds to indict the ceo. 

I would need to know that state authorities are taking insufficient action before approving the feds doing this.

Local authorities prosecute local figures all the time.  I admit there is a possibility of bias or being "bought off" one way or another, but I would prefer some evidence of that actually happening before the feds get involved.  And if it happened, it needs to be publicized, because those officials need to be run out of office.

Any time there's an interstate element or the possibility exists that local authorities are pulling punches, we just assume that it's ok for the federal government to get involved.  That's a wrong attitude.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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It would be funny if a few Texas alums pitched in and bought this company so we can all joke about how Horn alums name are on that ballpark.  Wish ole Sid would have followed in mama Bass' footsteps to Texas but Yale aint bad.

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29 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

I would need to know that state authorities are taking insufficient action before approving the feds doing this.

Local authorities prosecute local figures all the time.  I admit there is a possibility of bias or being "bought off" one way or another, but I would prefer some evidence of that actually happening before the feds get involved.  And if it happened, it needs to be publicized, because those officials need to be run out of office.

Any time there's an interstate element or the possibility exists that local authorities are pulling punches, we just assume that it's ok for the federal government to get involved.  That's a wrong attitude.

In my perfect world, the FBI would be a mostly advisory organization to local law enforcement, much as the Texas Rangers are in Texas.

Federal criminal prosecutions would be relatively rare and confined only to crimes with a truly federal interest (governmental corruption, things of that nature) and cases where there has been a finding that state officials wrongfully refuse to act.

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More details:     Perhaps the multistate involvement is reason for Fed prosecution.

 

 

BRENHAM, Texas — Former Blue Bell Creameries President and CEO Paul Kruse has been indicted on seven felony counts for concealing the deadly 2015 listeria outbreak on the same day the company plead guilty and agreed to pay a $19 million fine.

Kruse has been charged with one count of conspiracy and six counts of wire fraud/attempted wire fraud. The company, meanwhile, will pay a $17.25 million criminal fine and a $2.1 million civil fine for selling tainted ice cream to federal facilities.

“American consumers rely on food manufactures to take necessary steps to provide products that are safe to eat,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt, with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division.

The Department of Justice alleges in a 17-page indictment that Kruse and other Blue Bell executives knew about the outbreak and did little to stop it. Instead, the DOJ alleges, Kruse attempted to conceal the contamination for months before it was made public.

 

“From at least 2010 and continuing through April 20, 2015, Blue Bell executives, including Paul Kruse, knew that appropriate practices to ensure sanitary conditions were not being followed or achieved at the Blue Bell manufacturing facilities,” the indictment reads.

Kruse is the only executive named.

Listeria monocytogenes is a potentially life-threatening bacteria that contaminates food and cause serious sickness. 

Ten people across four states were sickened by the listeria-contaminated ice cream in 2015 and three people in Kansas died.

The indictment alleges that Kruse and Blue Bell executives knew about potential contamination as early as 2010 in two of the company’s manufacturing plants: in Brenham, where it's headquartered, and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. That contamination stemmed from leaking roofs and condensation, according to a government inspection cited by the indictment.

In 2011, an employee created a listeria-testing program to selectively test ice cream for potential listeria contamination. Twelve tests from finished product were sent away. Days before two tests came back presumptive positive for listeria, the indictment said, Kruse ordered an end to the program.

Kruse was allegedly made aware in February 2015 that ice cream made at the company’s Brenham plant tested positive for listeria in South Carolina. For the next two months, the DOJ said, Kruse ordered Blue Bell executives and employees to hide the outbreak from retailers and customers, according to the indictment.

Later, when ice cream was ordered to be removed from stores and other areas, Kruse allegedly told employees to let people know it was a manufacturing error without mentioning listeria.

Blue Bell didn't issue a public recall until March 13, nearly two months after the Department of Justice said Kruse and Blue Bell were first notified some of their ice cream had tested positive for listeria.

An email obtained by the Justice Department from a Florida school district to Kruse and other company executives read, in part, “the decision made not to inform (the school district) of this potential health risk and to try and quietly just pick-up the products gives the impression of deception and lack of integrity. These actions are contrary to our past experiences with Blue Bell Creameries.”

For each of the seven counts, Kruse faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Blue Bell closed all its plants in April 2015 with the intent to clean and update all its facilities. In all, it recalled more than 8 million gallons of ice cream.

The DOJ said that since reopening its facilities in late 2015, “Blue Bell has taken significant steps to enhance sanitation processes and enact a program to test for listeria prior to shipment.”

In a statement released on its website, Blue Bell said: "Five years ago, we were heartbroken about the events that led to our voluntary recall of all our ice cream from the market. We faced a situation our company had never dealt with before, and our agreement with the government reflects that we should have handled many things differently and better. We apologize to everyone who was impacted, including our customers, our employees, and the communities where we live and work."

 

https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/former-blue-bell-ceo-indicted-conspiracy-justice-department/285-5ae8633c-b879-4191-b7f5-3f5742184937

 

Not a bad guy,  burnt orange tie   🙂

 

130424675_1140x641.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

While it seems like criminal charges may be appropriate here, I find it dismaying that the feds are doing it.  Nothing federal about this crime.  Not sure why staties couldn't have handled it.

Possibly because they sat on their hands?

Is it federal because the products are available in multi states?  The deaths were not all in Tejas, no?

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Posted (edited)

It's federal because it's wire fraud.  Which is based on interstate commerce, but is nothing more than theft using phone, mail, or internet or other interstate devices, i.e. lots and lots of acts of theft with no particular federal connection.  It's a very gossamer thin justification for federal criminal jurisdiction.  None at all, in my mind.

I understand how the feds exercised jurisdiction.  I question the why and the propriety of it.  In many cases, it's just so someone can cover themselves in public glory.  The TV crime shows with Fart, Barf and Itch coming in and pushing the locals off a case is not solely a creature of fiction.

Also, it irks me severely when the press crows that someone has been charged with criminal conspiracy!!!111!!!!

A conspiracy is not a crime.  It's a way of proving liability for a crime.  It's "conspiracy to commit X."  X is the crime, not conspiracy.  Just fuels our conspiracy-minded public.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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I'm pretty sure this is getting to the point where it mirrors the plot of the movie, "The Stuff", no?  

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40 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

 

Also, it irks me severely when the press crows that someone has been charged with criminal conspiracy!!!111!!!!

A conspiracy is not a crime.  It's a way of proving liability for a crime.  It's "conspiracy to commit X."  X is the crime, not conspiracy.  Just fuels our conspiracy-minded public.

If it's aggy, it almost certainly involves more than one of em.

Independent thought, and all.

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Lets not forget Dude that keeping wildlife, um... an amphibious rodent, for... um, ya know domestic... within the city... that ain't legal either.

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11 hours ago, RPM said:

Never thought I'd see the fucking day they actually brought charges. I haven't bought BB since the murders.

Same. I won't eat it. Fuck 'em. (I think I *might* have bought a sleeve of the BB single-servings for a kids' birthday party ONCE -- but I wasn't happy about it and I didn't feel good about it.)

Creamy Creations >>>>>>>>>>>> Blue Bell (and hasn't killed anybody)

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I haven't eaten it either.  Although I enjoy ice cream quite a bit, it's one bad food that I don't seem to have much trouble not buying.  I'll get a pint of something occasionally, and even more rarely an actual gallon or half gallon, but it ain't Blue Bell.

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While it seems like criminal charges may be appropriate here, I find it dismaying that the feds are doing it.  Nothing federal about this crime.  Not sure why staties couldn't have handled it.

I’m actually fine with the feds acting here. He killed people in another state. The product was in broad interstate commerce, not just incidental. He directed actions to remove product and lie about it in multiple states. And, finally, one of the important functions of federal prosecution (and this is a practical one as opposed to a legal one), do you think there’s any chance that any Texas prosecutor would act against a company owned by connected aggies and the Bass Family? Fuck no.
I get your reticence about fed criminal prosecutions, but this is a good one. By the way, criminally negligent homicide charges should still be on the table...but they’ll never happen. See my point above.

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