0

Lee peanut buyer faces criminal charges

HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. -- Doug Wingate, owner of Great Southern Peanut Company in Leesburg, is facing a hearing at the Pulaski County Courthouse in Hawkinsville this morning, court officials say. At issue are 11 separate peanut contracts between Wingate and area farmers.

The farmers sought a warrant against Wingate because they contend he has failed to pay the contracts, citing Georgia Code 16-9-58. Non-payment of agricultural products is a criminal offense under that statute, according to Wingate's Albany-based attorney, Earl McCall.

McCall, however, called the charges "bogus," claiming the contracts were never agreements to purchase any of the peanuts. Rather, Wingate was merely purchasing options to buy, McCall said.

"Interestingly, the contracts are three pages long," McCall said, "and Page 2 is missing. That's the important page with the language defining it as an option document. I believe that if the judge had known the contract was three pages and the middle page was missing, this thing would never have gotten this far."

According to McCall, the document copies are very faint, which may have been the reason the Magistrate Court judge missed the absence of continuity from the paragraph at the bottom of Page 1 to the top of Page 3.

"I think the headline ought to be 'Wingate strikes again,'" said David Dunaway, who owns First Street Seed Co. in Hawkinsville, a warehouse service and buying point for local peanut farmers.

Dunaway said everyone he knows who is involved with the case has a Page 2 with their contracts. That they may not be complete has always been an acceptable way of doing business, he said.

In December, Wingate faced an "abbreviated" hearing in Lee County Magistrate Court where Worth County farmer Jack Bass sought payment for his peanut contract. The hearing ended in a two-week continuation without a single witness being called. According to Lee County Commissioner Dennis Roland, who is a farmer and a friend of Bass's, the case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.

Roland, who says he is owed about $12,000 in a peanut transaction with Wingate, thinks local farmers are being taken advantage of.

"I read my contract and some people say there could be flaws in it," Roland said. "I don't know, but mostly I think Mr. Wingate just has plenty of money and he can keep this tied up in court as long as he wants."

The hearing, which is set for 10 a.m., will be heard by Robert E. Turner, chief magistrate of Houston County. Judge Carlette Gibson, magistrate of Pulaski County, was disqualified.

Comments

VietVet1 1 year, 6 months ago

Money talks folks. DW will slip right on by.

1

waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

One can remember when a Man's word was all it took. Too bad these Farmers trusted Mr. Wingate instead of paying their Lawyers a few extra dollars to read over the contract before they signed it. How many folks have lost money, and possibly even more than that, due to the contrived contract and misrepresentation of what it said. Folks, we may not like paying Lawyers, but in some cases it is a necessary evil.

2

chinaberry25 1 year, 6 months ago

Wingate has been doing it to lesser men for years. If you do business with him, you go at your own risk. In the past he would have been tarred and feathered and road out on a rail. But in the long haul, God will take care of him. I would like to sit on that jury when he gets charged, but do not trust the judges in Lee Co. They are cut out of the same coat as Wingate. Money talks.

3

FryarTuk 1 year, 6 months ago

Well, as Paul Harvey said, I want to read page two and the rest of the story.

0

erudite 1 year, 6 months ago

Why pay lawyer to read it over? Can they not read?

0

waltspecht 1 year, 6 months ago

Unfortunately these contracts are not written for the average Citizen to be able to understand them. A Contracts purpose is to provide all the advantage to the generator of the contract, not benefit the accepter of the contract. It has become the way of the world. Now there are so many disclaimers that are deliberately worded to confuse, that only another Lawyer can determine just what the Lawyer that first assisted in drawing up the contract had in mind as a final outcome. I have heard thru the grapevine that these particular contracts completely favored Wingate, and provided very little protection or recourse to the Farmer.

1

KaosinAlbany 1 year, 6 months ago

You are very correct, Walt. Contracts can be tricky with the wording. Plus, don't sign your name to something if you are not sure what it is. I am a Notary so I know how important it is to know what you are signing. So many legalites could come up with signing something you do not completely understand or think you understand but really do not. In otherwords, take Walt's advice and hire a lawyer before signing any contract.

0

DoctorDorite 1 year, 6 months ago

Not sure how often you read farm commodity contracts or if you ever have but brother your wrong ! they are very simple. A contract protects "both" parties on terms agreed to. Look at your last sentence, if that was the case then why did the farmers sign ?? most farmers these days are college graduates and are not dummies and I'm pretty sure they were'nt forced into signing. Failing to pay as agreed is wrong no doubt, if he did'nt pay as agreed the justice system will definetly set things right, PER the agreed signed contracts by "both" parties.

0

KaosinAlbany 1 year, 6 months ago

You don't know what the contracts state so don't be so quick to judge. I am in the legal field and have seen all sorts of things go wrong with contracts.

0

DoctorDorite 1 year, 6 months ago

Show me where I passed judgement in what I wrote ?? You guys are the ones passing judgement, I sign several farm commodity contracts every year, they are pretty standard nation-wide other than the set prices, some years the prices go down, and I WIN, some years the prices go up, and I LOSE ! Thats the nature of contracts, being "locked in". You said you were a Notary, thats a very long distance from being a legal expert so you can try convincing some others of your vast legal knowledge, not me.

0

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 6 months ago

"The Love Of Money is the Root of All Kinds of Evil!"

God Said It!!!!

0

tiredofit 1 year, 6 months ago

Anybody heard results of hearing ?

0

Sign in to comment