Michael Cameron, the former owner of Foremost Dairies in Spokane, has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax evasion and ordered to pay $2.2 million to U.S. Bank, Cameron’s lender.
U.S. taxpayers, however, will receive just $5,000 from Cameron, who admitted not paying $1.1 million in federal income taxes.
Cameron, a 41-year-old from Windermere, Fla., was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
He pleaded guilty in May to one count of tax evasion in 1989. A portion of his taxable income that year had been diverted from Foremost’s accounts.
Cameron had purchased Foremost, formerly Carnation, that year in a leveraged buyout, borrowing $25 million from U.S. Bank.
U.S. Bank declared the loans in default in 1990, ousted Cameron and installed a receiver to run Foremost, according to the U.S. Attorney.
As first in line to Foremost assets, U.S. Bank at the time of the receivership refused to pay Washington farmers about $2.7 million for milk they had already delivered to Foremost’ bottling plants in Spokane, Seattle and Portland. Several were forced to sell herds and farms to pay their bills.
“There’s no justice in the sentencing of Cameron,” said Mike Yeager, a former Foremost supplier and Deer Park dairyman.
The Foremost dairy in Spokane later was purchased by Goodale & Barbieri Cos. and renamed Broadview Dairy.