State seeking unpaid funds from Kake Foods

Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The state has filed a civil action against Kake Foods seeking more than $61,000 for unpaid employment security contributions.

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The complaint, filed in Juneau Superior Court, seeks to enjoin Kake Foods from operating any business until it pays its assessments.

Duff Mitchell, chief operating officer for Kake Tribal Corp., of which Kake Foods is a subsidiary, said he was surprised to hear of the legal action filed at the end of May and believes there has been a miscommunication in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, on whose behalf the action was filed.

Because the matter is in litigation, he said he would not be able to comment on the matter. He said he didn't know why the action was filed.

The tribal corporation was created in 1971 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. It filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and five years later closed Kake Foods and Pelican Seafoods. In May, it signed papers leasing its Pelican Seafoods plant to the regionally operated Ed Bahrt & Associates.

Mitchell said Kake Foods is not operating. He referred questions to the Department of Labor. An officer with the department's Employment Security Division declined to comment.

The complaint seeks about $61,300. Of that, about $47,800 comes from unpaid employment security contributions dating to the latter half of 2003. It also includes interest, accumulated at the annual rate of 12 percent, through May 12, totaling $13,445 and penalties of about $87.

The bulk of the unpaid employment security contributions come from the third quarter of 2003, according to court records. For July, August and September, the Department of Labor alleges the company failed to pay about $38,000 in employment security contributions. The department alleges another $5,600 was owed for October, November and December of 2004.

The company last allegedly failed to pay owed employment security contributions for April, May and June of 2005. It owed the state $29 in contributions. That obligation has increased to about $33, including interest and penalties, according to court records.

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