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New Mexico Coffee Roastery Sued by Minority Investors

A struggling New Mexico coffee company is being sued by minority investors who say the owner has repeatedly failed to follow up on promises of financial distributions.

In a district court filing, Richard and Kathleen Abeles say they invested $162,000 — representing an 11 percent investment — in Santa Fe’s Aroma Coffee in 1996. Owned by Howard Stone, Aroma Coffee is an LLC specializing in coffee roasting and packing. The Abeles are now asking that the company be dissolved by the court, according to a report this morning from the ABQ Journal. Here’s more from that report:

In a January 2011 letter, according to the suit, Stone reported that because Aroma LLC is experiencing “a major crisis in the coffee industry… there will be no distributions now, or in the foreseeable future.” Meanwhile, Stone authorized $1.5 million in salary for himself from 2000 to 2009 and his wife received $614,00 from 2004 through 2009, the last year for which the Abeles have numbers, the suit states.

In 2009, the Abeles asked Stone and his wife to cut their salaries by 50 percent and use the savings to make distributions to company members like themselves, but that didn’t happen, the court complaint alleges.

The full story: ABQ Journal


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