Bill Kurtis' beef business fined $403,000 by USDA over money owed to suppliers
BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org December 6, 2012 1:32PM
Bill Kurtis, Tallgrass Beef Co. founder and TV news anchor.
Updated: January 8, 2013 6:23AM
A company run by Chicago news anchor and documentary producer Bill Kurtis has been fined in a case that one of his shows might title not “Where’s the Beef?” but “Where’s the Money for the Beef?”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Kurtis’ Tallgrass Beef Co. LLC for not making timely payments for livestock. The stated fine is nearly $403,000, but the department and Kurtis said that will be reduced to about $50,000 once Tallgrass catches up on its obligations.
Kurtis said the recession was hard on his 7-year-old business, which sells grass-fed beef to high-end restaurants and groceries from its base near Sedan, Kan. A couple of years ago, his company had overdue bills totaling $1.6 million and was dealing with slow payments from its vendors.
“We will make it, and we already have new investors lined up, ready to get in,” Kurtis said. “The prognosis is very good. The trend is to eat healthier food.” Grass-fed is regarded as healthier than the grain-fed kind.
The USDA fined Tallgrass for acting like a packer when it failed to maintain a bond or other financial conditions of the Packers and Stockyards Act.