The Wonderful Company’s fight with the Assemi family over a pistachio processing plant in Tulare County took a hit on Tuesday.
In a unanimous vote, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors tentatively denied Wonderful and billionaire owner Stewart Resnick’s request for an appeal of building permits issued to Assemi-owned Touchstone Pistachio Company to expand a facility.
“This is a simple case,” said Mark Sherrell, Touchstone’s Chief of Plant Operations. “Mr. Resnick and The Wonderful Company want to eliminate competition so they can control the market and dictate prices. Without the balanced hand of the Board of Supervisors, the pistachio industry in this region would suffer a grave setback.
The board will finalize the decision on Sep. 15, leaving Wonderful’s hopes of preventing Touchstone’s expansion in the hands of the Tulare County Superior Court, with an initial hearing scheduled for Sept. 1.
Wonderful filed a lawsuit against Tulare County in July, alleging that the county illegally issued the building permits to Touchstone. Wonderful also filed a lawsuit to halt the construction of a Touchstone processing facility in Fresno County last year.
(Darius Assemi, publisher of GV Wire, is a partner in Touchstone Pistachio Company.)