Daniel Shinoff and Stewart Parnell:
Separated at Birth?

Contaminated peanuts and sick schools spread ill-health
across the nation
FDA officials earlier had said Peanut Corp.
waited for a second test to clear peanut butter
and peanuts that initially tested positive for
salmonella. But the agency amended its report,
noting that the Georgia plant actually shipped
some products before receiving the second test
and sold others even after confirming salmonella.

A Peanut Corp. lawyer said the company is
investigating and had no comment on the latest
FDA findings. The company previously said it
"categorically denies any allegations" that it
sought lab results that would put its products in a
favorable light.

Details of the privately held company have been
slow to turn up, and what has come out hasn't
been from Parnell. He has repeatedly declined to
speak to reporters.

Parnell's friends and business partners
described him as a hardworking, soft-spoken
man who had a good rapport with the dozens of
contacts he made over the years.

"He had a good reputation," said Jeffrey Pope, a
peanut farmer who has done business with
Parnell's Virginia plant. "People respected him.
He's been in the industry for more than 30 years
and he's been a mainstay."

Southwest Georgia peanut industry officials say
Parnell didn't spend much time in the state,
instead leaving the day-to-day dealings to others.

His reputation earned him a vaunted spot on the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's Peanut
Standards Board, which is charged with helping
the government establish quality and handling
standards for the nation's peanuts.

But several board members said they were
unaware Parnell was on the panel, and some
said the board rarely met. When they did, it was
often by teleconference.

Parnell was removed from the board Thursday by
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Peanut
Corp. was suspended from participating in
government contract programs for at least a year.

The company has said in statements that it is
deeply concerned.

"The product recalls issued by our company
continue to expeditiously remove all potentially
harmful products from the marketplace, in the
best interest of the public's health and safety," a
statement midweek said.

Associated Press writers Brett J. Blackledge and
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington and Sue
Lindsey in Lynchburg, Va., contributed to this
report.
"We started this business with just three of us,
but the taxpayers have provided us with
spacious accommodations and a growing
payroll for a number of years."

The peanut processing business grew over the
years. The company bought a plant in
Temecula, opened another in Las Angeles,
and, naturally, was drawn to Las Vegas as its
opportunities grew.

Friends and business associates said Dan
Shinoff was dedicated.

"He certainly has gone out and done some
things on his own — he didn't just lay around.
He's been aggressive," said one person who
has known Shinoff for six years.

But as the company expanded and began to
process millions of dollars worth of baloney per
year, its headquarters was moved to Liberty
Station, the formal NTC (Naval Training Station)
property that Corky McMillan wrangled from the
city for a song.
San Diego
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Small-minded lawyers in
SDCOE scandal had wide
reach


SAN DIEGO-- From school personnel
decisions to million-dollar lawsuits, the
nationwide school corruption scandal has
reached deep into the American school system
— even though many people had never heard
of the lawyers at the center of the investigation
until the
MiraCosta College fiasco.

The law firm
Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz has
just a few offices scattered across the West,
but it may be responsible for one of the
nation's largest school corruption cases in
history.

Federal investigators are investigating public
entities in San Diego, after initial inquiries
showed that a large number of insurance
brokers were getting kickbacks. Federal law
forbids secret payments and payments under
conditions that could be harmful to students
and taxpayers.

So far, school corruption has damaged
hundreds of students in San Diego and may
have contributed to the lifelong failures of
many of them. San Diego County Office of
Education, as usual, refuses to investigate.

Stutz law firm and SDCOE have denied any
wrongdoing, and claim that they are
investigating, but, of course, we all know what
an SDCOE investigation looks like.

Before the scandal, Stutz law firm was a little-
known but ambitious company that began in
the 1980s as a public-official-catering
operation.
Belying the ambition, there were problems.

About nine months after Parnell bought the
Georgia plant in 2001, potential insecticide
contamination and dead insects were found near
peanuts inspected by the Food and Drug
Administration.

More recently, state inspections in 2006 and
2007 found some sanitary problems. After
another inspection in October, state officials
discovered only relatively minor violations.

But less than three months later, a federal
investigation found roaches, mold and other
unsanitary conditions.

The potential repercussions began to emerge.
The Agriculture Department said it may have
shipped possibly contaminated peanut butter and
other foods to free school lunch programs in
California, Minnesota and Idaho in 2007. The
Federal Emergency Management Agency
acknowledged that it distributed meals to disaster
victims that may have included the potentially
tainted peanut butter.

And it was discovered that the company's
Plainview, Texas, plant didn't register with state
health officials there after opening in March 2005
and only recently was discovered and inspected.

However, the most serious issue surfaced in
inspection records released Friday by the Food
and Drug Administration. The reports showed
that in 2007 the company shipped chopped
peanuts on July 18 and 24 after salmonella was
confirmed by private lab tests.
Small company in salmonella
scandal had wide reach

By GREG BLUESTEIN and KATE BRUMBACK
Associated Press
Feb. 7, 2009

ATLANTA (AP) — From school lunches to
nutrition bars and ice cream, the nationwide
salmonella outbreak has reached deep into
the American food supply — even though
many people had never heard of the small
company at the center of the investigation until
a few weeks ago.

The food manufacturer, Peanut Corp. of
America, has just a few plants scattered across
the South, but it may be responsible for one of
the nation's largest food recalls in history.

Federal investigators on Friday said the
Lynchburg, Va.-based company knowingly
shipped salmonella-laced products from its
Blakely, Ga., plant after tests showed the
products were contaminated. Federal law
forbids producing or shipping foods under
conditions that could make it harmful to
consumers' health.

So far, the salmonella outbreak has sickened
about 575 people in 43 states and may have
contributed to at least eight deaths. The
Justice Department has opened a criminal
investigation and more than 1,550 products
have been recalled.

The company has denied any wrongdoing, but
said it is investigating.

Before the scandal, Peanut Corp. was a little-
known but ambitious company that began in
the 1970s as a family catering operation.

"We started this business working out of our
house in Virginia with my mom doing all the
accounting," company president Stewart
Parnell had been quoted on the company's
Web site.

The peanut processing business grew over the
years. The company bought a plant in Georgia
in 2001, opened another in Texas four years
later, and was also running a plant in Virginia.

Friends and business associates said Parnell
was dedicated.

"He certainly has gone out and done some
things on his own — he didn't just lay around.
He's been aggressive," said Eddie Marks, who
runs a Virginia storage company and has
known Parnell for 15 years.

But even as the company expanded and
began to process millions of pounds of
peanuts per month, its headquarters was still a
two-story building behind Parnell's house. He
even had his own brand of peanut products:
"Parnell's Pride."
Belying the ambition, there were problems.