MADISON, Wis. -- Supervalu will return to trial court in an effort to claim an alleged $150,000 debt from an independent operator.
The First District Court of Appeals here recently reversed an earlier decision by Milwaukee Circuit Court that relieved a former independent operator from the alleged debt to the wholesaler after a business venture went under.
"We are pleased with the decision [by the Court of Appeals], but we have to go to trial [again]," said Rita Simmer, communications director for Supervalu. "I'm hopeful we'll prevail [in the new trial]," said Kim Myrdahl, litigation attorney for Supervalu.
According to court documents, Supervalu, Minneapolis, claims that independent operator Neil Lofberg, owner of Lofberg's Inc., Milwaukee, removed $150,000 in monies from a personal account that had been used for business transactions -- money Supervalu said is owed to it.
The two companies had a shared security interest in three supermarkets located in Waukesha, Bay View and Janesville, Wis.
In the spring of 1995, Lofberg's Inc. encountered some cash flow problems as a result of financial strains on other business interests and competition from a nearby supermarket that had recently opened its doors. As a result, Supervalu required Lofberg's Inc. to pay for the stores' inventory cash on delivery, according to Neil Lofberg's attorney, Gaar Steiner, senior partner of Steiner and Schoenfeld, Milwaukee. In June of 1995, Neil Lofberg loaned Lofberg's Inc. $150,000 and funneled the funds through two personal accounts, back into the three supermarkets to keep the stores in operation. An interim loan agreement between Lofberg and Lofberg's Inc. required that Lofberg be paid back the $150,000 loan on at least a weekly basis.