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Lehi Roller Mills seeks way out of bureaucratic, financial tangle

Stripped of ability to obtain loans, century-old business fights for survival.



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A lifeline • Another drain on the company, said Robinson, has been an age-discrimination lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving a 49-year-old former plant manager who was terminated in 2003. The lawsuit was filed in 2008 and is pending, meaning Roller Mills is racking up legal fees.

"The regulatory environment has not been helpful to Lehi Roller Mills, and the government has not been helpful. It’s been a hindrance," said Brennan. "It’s very sad to see what the government has done to this company."

At a glance

Lehi Roller Mills

Founded » 1905 at its present site, 833 E. Main St., Lehi.

All in the family » In 1910, George Robinson purchased the mill, of which grandson Sherman is the current owner

Products » Wholesale flour, mixes for pancakes, brownies, cookies and muffins sold by grocery chains and others

Retail store hours » 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday

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However, there may be some hope.

In March, Brennan won a $4.5 million judgment for Robinson against California-based export company Cal-Agrex Inc. for unpaid bills related to nonfat dry milk that Cal-Agrex allegedly shipped to the Philippines in 2006. A spokesman for Cal-Agrex declined comment.

In looking at Cal-Agrex’s actions, Utah federal Judge Ted Stewart noted that Robinson did not participate in the government commodity program, and was told in a letter that the "USDA has no jurisdiction in the ultimate use of the nonfat dry milk" when the Roller Mills alerted the Agriculture Department that the plant would be processing and selling the product.

Now, Robinson’s attorney must collect on the judgment.

"I know the importance of Lehi Roller Mills," said Brennan, whose ancestry goes back to Lehi founder David Evans. "Robinson is a terrific man. I hold out the hope that the mill will survive and one day it will thrive. I hope creditors will be patient, and I expect the mill will be true to its commitments."

dawn@sltrib.com

Twitter@DawnHouseTrib




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