LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The operators of a produce company in Southern California have protected a vendor who buys produce wholesale and resells it as his own, an official said.
Shannon Reid, a market manager for Raw Inspiration, a non-profit organization that runs 18 farmers' markets in Southern California, said she witnessed a vendor repackaging produce from Mexico and selling it as his own, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Reid made her comments at a listening session held Monday by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Santa Monica.
She said the vendor, Kirby Wyllie, allegedly admitted to her that he was cheating and removed the items from the Glendale, Calif., market; Wyllie denies the allegations.
Reid said her duties and pay have been cut since she made the report, and she was told she would soon be transferred to another market.
Government records said the latest incident isn't the first time Wyllie, or his employer, Rancho Las Gordonises, have been accused of deception. He was banned from participating at farmers' markets in Tulare County for 17 months following a 2007 incident in which he allegedly falsified documents.
Rancho Las Gordonises was fined $600 by San Diego County for reselling produce as its own in 2009, and the company was suspended for 18 months by San Bernardino County for reselling pears and cherries, the report said.
"I thought I was going to be dealing with peace, love and hippies," Reid said of her employment at the farmers' markets, but later came to feel "like I'm dealing with the Teamsers."
At the time of her complaint, the woman who claims to be the owner of Rancho Las Gordonises was a member of the board of directors at Raw Inspiration.
Raw Inspiration officials denied Reid's claims.