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Candy maker fights attempt to freeze assets

Candy maker fights attempt to freeze assets

Its accounts were nearly frozen, but candy manufacturer Richardson Brands says its employees are get
Candy maker fights attempt to freeze assets
George Lasher, then the CEO of Richardson Brands, holds rock candy crystal sticks at the company plant Aug. 17, 2010.

Its accounts were nearly frozen, but candy manufacturer Richardson Brands says its employees are getting paid and business will go on as usual.

The Montgomery County-based company is in the midst of a legal battle with a former employee that almost resulted in a frozen company account. Now, it’s awaiting a decision from a local judge to determine whether it can keep its accounts free from any more restrictions until the dispute is settled in an out-of-state court.

Known for its Beechies Gum, Richardson Mints and rock candy, Richardson Brands painted a not-so-sweet picture in a complaint filed earlier this month in Supreme Court in Montgomery County. It argued that a freeze on its accounts could force the confectionary company to close and lay off 160 employees at its Canajoharie manufacturing plant.

On Monday, Richardson Brands chief financial officer James Tucciarone downplayed the severity of the matter.

“Richardson Brands Company is adequately capitalized and financed and this matter, however settled, will have a minimal effect on the overall business operations,” he wrote in an email. “We expect to continue to grow profitably and continue to support and employ the community of Canajoharie, NY.”

The issue with its accounts stems from a previous dispute with Kathy Hiserodt, a former senior vice president of marketing for the company from March 2010 through December 2011. Hiserodt sued the company and investor Founders Equity for additional compensation she says she was owed as part of her contract. The matter was heard in a New Jersey court earlier this year, and a jury wound up awarding her $516,000.

The company is appealing the decision, and until then wants Hiserodt barred from issuing any restraining notices on its accounts in an effort to recoup her award.

In its complaint, Richardson Brands says Hiserodt began enforcement of the judgment in Montgomery County in April and issued a series of restraining notices aimed at various banking institutions, including NBT Bank, where Richardson holds an account that allows its employees to cash paychecks.

The company’s attorney was able to get Montgomery County-based Supreme Court Justice Joseph Sise to release all restrictions on its accounts and temporarily restrain Hiserodt from issuing any more such notices earlier this month. Now it wants permanent relief.

Sise heard oral arguments from each side’s attorneys in court Monday morning and will issue a decision at a later date, court officials said.

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