Westminster slaughterhouse settles with town over $500K-plus debt

A man who borrowed money from the town of Westminster to renovate what ultimately became a failed slaughterhouse is now on the hook for the more than $545,000 that the town says it’s owed. Daniel Mandich, of Walpole, New Hampshire, who owned the now-defunct Westminster Meats, agreed this week to the six-figure settlement, after he failed to pay back the money he borrowed to open the facility. The case was heard in in Cheshire Court in Keene, New Hampshire. Mandich’s misadventure in meatpacking began in 2010, when he borrowed $600,000 to renovate an existing building into a USDA-certified meat and poultry processing facility, according to court documents.   The loan was secured by Mandich at former Gov. Jim Douglas’ urging, according to a 2009 press release. Douglas stepped in on Mandich’s behalf, securing expedited approval for a $648,000 state Agency of Commerce and Community Development grant to Westminster, which the town loaned him on favorable terms to open the facility. But from early on, the business struggled to stay afloat, court documents show. As early as 2011, an email from the town’s counsel identified Mandich as being “substantially” in debt. In 2013, Mandich misse...

The More Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts I Sell, the Worse I Feel

For whole-animal butcher Sophia Hampton, this ubiquitous cut of meat is actually the most problematic item in the case. If there’s one guarantee when I show up for a day of work at Hudson & Charles, the New York butcher shop where I’ve worked for over a year, it’s this: I will put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a plastic bag, weigh them out, slap them with a price sticker, beep them through a POS system, and sell them to a customer. Following this transaction, this very normal and common occurrence, I ask if she wants a receipt. I say, “Have a good one,” instead of, “Have a nice day.” I watch the customer walk out the door. A green compostable shopping bag that she will not compost hangs from her arm, weighted down by her purchase. Sorry, did that come off as snide? Judgmental, perhaps? What did Chicken Breast Woman do to deserve such a particular size up? She was nice. She even looked up from texting to place her order, and asked me how my day was going. It didn’t matter, though. I had already written her off the moment she asked for the slimy, conformable lobes of nude poultry, now jiggling helplessly in their baggie as they move toward their certain fate as protei...