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Friedmans lawsuits reveal details of stores’ failure

September 23, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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The old Friedman's freshmarket in Greater Butler Mart in Butler Twp on Monday July 23, 2018.

While the legal struggles between the owner of the former Friedman’s Freshmarkets and its food distributor, Merchants Distributors Inc., continues in both state and federal court, the legal documents available to the public reveal the depth of the dispute between the two food purveyors.

Merchant Distributors, or MDI, sued Friedman’s, known in the court cases by their official name, Harold Friedman Inc. or HFI, in late 2017 for breach of contract when HFI defaulted on two loans the distributor extended to the grocery chain.

MDI lawyers say in October 2016, MDI entered into a contract with HFI to loan them almost $470,000 to restock the barren shelves at their three locations.

On the same day, MDI agree to loan HFI $1.7 million, with one or more of Friedman’s buildings put up for collateral on the loan.

MDI said Friedman’s stopped making even interest payments on the $1.7 million loan and still owes $1.62 million.

Regarding the contract to provide Friedman’s with nonperishable products, MDI said Friedman’s ordered and received food for their three stores but did not pay for it.

The documents also reveal that HFI had not made a profit since 2009, and one grocery expert testified that Friedman’s refrigeration and other equipment at some stores was outdated and not in good working condition.

This is an excerpt, read the full story in Monday’s Butler Eagle.

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