FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Sentencing for Jerome “Jerry” Hennessey, the big game hunting co-op manager, has been delayed a week to Friday, June 21, at 11 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Fergus Falls.
Sentencing for the former general manager of the defunct Ashby (Minn.) Farmers Cooperative Elevator Co. replaces an earlier-announced June 13 date.
Hennessey on Feb. 14 pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the theft of $5.4 million from the co-op over a period of 15 years; much of it apparently spent on big game hunting trips around the world. Among other things, the co-op paid for more than a half-million dollars in taxidermy. Hennessey disappeared Sept. 10 when it became apparent that co-op funds had disappeared and turned himself in Dec. 4 in the wake of federal charges.
In related court developments:
Hunting guide lawsuit: hearing has been set regarding the hunting guide companies around the country and world that the co-op is suing because they received money from the co-op to which they didn’t provide services. Co-op attorney Erik Ahlgren argues that money is recoverable. The first of the hearings is at 1 p.m. June 21 in front of Tunheim in Fergus Falls.
Co-op asset sale. On May 20 in Grant County District Court in Elbow Lake, Ahlgren will request that assets owned by Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator be sold to Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator, based in Wheaton, Minn., which is leasing the facility. The defunct Ashby co-op earlier agreed to sell the real estate for $650,000, after selling the “rolling stock” — vehicles and wheeled equipment — for $500,000. The sale of property would help pay off $7.8 million owed by the Ashby co-op to Colorado-based CoBank.
Board liability. Ahlgren says former members of the co-op’s board of directors during the time the fraud occurred, dating back as many as 15 years, are being represented by Robert “Rob” G. Manly, an attorney with the Vogel Law Firm in Fargo. Manly could not be reached for comment. “We haven’t brought a claim but we’re not done investigating and deciding whether we’ll bring a claim, but that’s the great likelihood,” Ahlgren said.
Hennessey divorce. Rebecca “Becky” Hennessey, 58, and Jerry Hennessey, 56, have officially divorced after being married 37 years.