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Koffee Kup Bakery files emergency motion seeking facts of secret sale

  • A Koffee Kup Bakery truck outside the Vermont Bread Co. in Brattleboro on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin O’Connor/VTDigger

Published: 6/12/2021 1:23:57 AM
Modified: 6/12/2021 1:24:03 AM

A lawyer for the recently closed Koffee Kup Bakery and its subsidiary, Vermont Bread Co., has filed an emergency court motion seeking immediate disclosure of sealed information about a receiver’s surprise last-minute sale of the business to Flowers Foods, the $4 billion maker of Wonder Bread and many other products.

Burlington lawyer Alexandra Edelman is asking Chittenden County Superior Court to release documents reporting the price and particulars of all purchased assets, as well as what New York-based receiver Ronald Teplitsky will be paid for his services.

“The Koffee Kup entities cannot engage in meaningful discussions regarding the distribution of any surplus proceeds without first knowing and fully understanding the terms and conditions of the sale,” Edelman wrote in her motion.

When 150 Koffee Kup workers in Burlington and 100 Vermont Bread workers in Brattleboro found their plants abruptly shuttered April 26, a judge appointed Teplitsky as receiver to “sell or dispose of” all assets “subject to the control of this court and the laws regarding receivership,” according to a written order.

Teplitsky had remained silent about the process until this week, when his counsel revealed the sale of the shuttered business to Flowers Foods for an undisclosed price.

“We have no immediate plans to reopen the bakeries,” Flowers Foods CEO Ryals McMullian said in a subsequent statement, “but will be assessing how they may fit our strategic network optimization efforts in the future.”

That response has sparked ire from spurned bidders and customers with dreams of Koffee Kup and Vermont Bread rehiring workers and returning local baked goods to store shelves.

In her motion, Edelman said Vermont law called for the court to not only appoint a receiver but also supervise that hire.

“The receiver, as an officer appointed by and subject to the control of the court, does not have the authority to keep the sale information confidential,” Edelman wrote. “Rather, the receiver is required to provide transparency.”

But Teplitsky hasn’t disclosed the purchase price and said only, through his lawyer, that the sale would cover the costs owed to former employees and lenders.

The receiver also hasn’t publicized his fees.

“Recent experience reveals that the court and the Koffee Kup entities must closely monitor the sale and distribution phase of this proceeding to ensure accountability and accuracy,” Edelman concluded.

Teplitsky and his lawyer have not responded to VtDigger requests for comment over several weeks.

The court has given all interested parties until Monday to respond to the motion.

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