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Closed door-to-door meat seller back in business

Posted at 4:16 PM, Mar 04, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- A door-to-door meat seller accused of ripping off consumers is back in Marion County and operating once again.

Call 6 Investigates exposed Midwest Cattle Exchange last year for its questionable sales practices.

CALL 6 | Customers have beef with door-to-door meat sales company

A Marion County judge ordered former manager Ryan Harner and owner Craig Walker to pay a $50,346 judgment, following a lawsuit from the Indiana Attorney General’s office that alleged Midwest Cattle Exchange broke several laws.

MORE | Court orders door-to-door meat seller to pay $50K

The company closed up its West Washington Street location last year and moved to Michigan.

CALL 6 | Door-to-door meat sales company closes shop after Call 6 investigation | Michigan warns about door-to-door meat sales company that relocated from Indianapolis

Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney has received several tips that Midwest Cattle Exchange and its former workers are back in Marion County and are still selling meat door-to-door.

On Tuesday, Call 6 Investigates camped out outside a former Midwest Cattle Exchange building on Gimber Street in Mars Hill.

Our cameras captured the company’s former manager, Ryan Harner, unloading boxes of meat.

Call 6 Investigates did some checking and learned Harner is operating without a license – he needs one from to store meat at the location.

The Marion County Public Health Department sent Harner a letter on Feb. 19, warning him to get the required permit.

Harner faces fines of up to $500 a day if found in violation, according to Curt Brantingham, public information coordinator for the Marion County Public Health Department.

Harner spotted Kenney during the stake out and agreed to talk off camera about his new company – Stockyard Distributors.

“I just now opened up,” said Harner when asked about operating without a license. “I’m just trying to get some money together.  Should I just go work at McDonalds?”

Records show Harner registered Stockyard Distributors on Dec. 22, 2015.

Harner denied going door-to-door in Marion County, which he also does not have a license for.

“(We go) out of state to Iowa, Illinois,” said Harner. “All the guys that are with me are all from out of state. I even have people from North Carolina with me.”

Call 6 Investigates asked why he goes out of state.

“Because the news is following me,” said Harner.

Call 6 Investigates spotted Shad Riley sitting outside of Stockyard Distributor’s building on Gimber Street.

Riley appeared in our original story on Midwest Cattle Exchange as a door-to-door salesman.

“I don’t work here, if that’s what you’re insinuating,” Riley told Call 6 Investigates on March 1.

Johnnie Hoggatt of Marshall Illinois told Call 6 Investigates he bought meat from Stockyard Distributors more than a month ago and is still waiting to get his money back.

“I paid way too much for it,” said Hoggatt. “I think it was around $250.”

Call 6 Investigates wanted to ask Harner about Hoggatt’s complaint.

Kenney waited outside a court hearing Friday afternoon regarding the $50,346 judgment for Midwest Cattle Exchange, but both Harner and owner Craig Walker failed to show up.

Harner sent a message to Kenney Friday saying he had submitted documents to the Marion County Public Health Department “for legal operations.”

“We have not received an application,” said Curt Brantingham, spokesperson for the Marion County Public Health Department Friday. “MCPHD Food Safety has not received a license application regarding this.”

The judgment against Midwest Cattle Exchange prohibits Harner and Walker from deceptive sales practices, but does nothing to stop them from operating a legal business, said Molly Gillaspie, spokesperson for the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

Call 6 Investigates also received a tip that Craig Walker still continues to operate under the name Midwest Cattle Exchange.

Kenney received a phone call from a consumer in Gas City who said he bought meat in January from Walker, but the consumer said he was eventually able to get his money back.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office continues to try to collect the $50,346 judgment from Walker and Harner, and is looking into garnishment of Harner’s wages at Stockyard Distributors.