Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies turned customers away from a local meat locker on Monday night after the couple who runs it had been evicted from the building.
A lawsuit filed in Lincoln County could mean the end of J & M Country Meats, a store outside of Harrisburg that processes wild game. Lincoln County Judge Joseph Neiles signed an eviction notice on November 21, ordering Jared and Mandee Adrian of J & M Country Meats to vacate the building and turn off all the coolers by 5 p.m. On Tuesday, several signs alerted customers the place was empty and gave them a number to call.
Brady Mallory: Do you feel like the little guy being pushed around?
Jared Adrian: Very much.
Standing outside of a Harrisburg coffee shop, Adrian said he still has more than 400 deer left to process. An attorney for the owners of the building said the eviction should not be a surprise because the meat processing equipment was seized weeks ago.
"It isn't like this has been an extremely fast process. The Adrians were served in July knowing we were going to formally evict them and that was before deer season had started," Robin Eich with Eich Law Office said.
Eich, an attorney for Daniel and Kerry Bamsey, owners of Country Meats L.L.C., says because of the original eviction notice this summer, the Adrians were supposed to be gone by August 4.
"August 4th came and went and they were not out of the premises," Eich said.
This started after months of negotiations to buy the building and property from the Bamseys fell through. According to Eich, the Adrians did not buy the building and stopped paying rent in the spring.
When asked whether this claim was true or false, Adrian responded, "At this time, I'm not going to comment on that."
The Bamseys are now suing the Adrians for thousands of dollars in damages, including about $55,500 in unpaid rent from May to December. Eich says her clients are not the only ones owed money. Court papers filed with state also show Adrian owes several thousands of dollars to various creditors. Papers filed in Lincoln County also show the Adrians' attorney dropped them as clients earlier this month, claiming he was not getting paid. Jared Adrian is also among those named in charges against Adrian Sod Incorporated for tax evasion and failure to pay taxes.
Eich says her clients are mainly worried about the customers and the status of the unprocessed meat.
"There are a lot of people that are out, or a young kid, this is his first year or her first year of hunting. They shoot their first deer and take it to this meat locker to get processed. I have no idea if these customers will get their meat back," Eich said.
Adrian would not comment on much else about these claims, noting he did not want to jeopardize a future appeal with the South Dakota Supreme Court. However, he says he is working on a new business and plans to fulfill his customers' orders.
"Business as usual, we'll be taking deer here in a day or two and their product is being taken care of and they all pretty much understand," Adrian said.