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Company Boardroom Fight Tearing Up Atchison Business

Disagreements in MGP Ingredients boardroom are leading to uncertainty.
(Atchison, Kan.) MGP Ingredients has been a mainstay in the Atchison community for more than 70 years.

The company develops specialty ingredients that are used in foods, beverages and household products.

"The company has been in Atchison since 1942," said Richard Booe, a former chief financial officer for MGP. "It's been around a long time and it's been stable."

But now, there's turmoil in the boardroom.

"I just wonder if this board is doing what they need to be doing," he said.

Booe says infighting among board members has led to two quarterly meetings being cancelled. Also, an opposition called "The Cray Group" has formed to get its own membership voted on the board.

"Unfortunately, it's tearing up a lot of the community," Booe said. "A lot of people are neighbors around here."

There are several reasons The Cray Group says they're upset with current MGP leadership. Profits are down and some are worried about a possible sale of the company to outside interests.

The Cray Group is made up of relatives of the company's founder Cloud L. Cray, Sr.

"There's always that chance that they're going to make a decision that might affect whether the company stays in Atchison or not," said Booe. "This is an unknown and this is part of what's really upsetting people in the community."

What possibly upsets Booe the most is what he says are some sweetheart deals for some of MGP's executives, which he says are ill-advised during the lagging performance of the company.

"Another thing that this board has done is put together what we call a golden parachute for certain employees of the company," Booe said. "If they're doing their fiduciary responsibility I say to myself, what shareholders are they really looking out for."

Booe says he just wants a resolution with leadership that can take the company forward.


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