Members of the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers are still waiting for the co-op’s financials as it approaches the end of another fiscal year-end, even though a forensic audit has been completed.
The Wool Growers held its annual general meeting in October 2023, where only a verbal account of financial disclosures was given. At the time, the board executive said the full financials could not be circulated due to an outstanding audit of the financials by Ernst & Young. The audit stems from when general manager, Eric Bjergso, was placed on paid leave in March 2023, as the board investigated “undisclosed liabilities” and other irregularities, the executive said. Bjergso filed his own suit against the Wool Growers, acting general manager Morgan Moore, and president Allan Ribbink in late March 2023.
The lawyer representing the Wool Growers explained at the AGM that the financial report by Ernst & Young “would be done soon.” As of publication, no shareholders contacted by RealAgriculture have reported any updates or communication from the board.
RealAgriculture reached out to Morgan Moore, acting general manager of the Wool Growers and former president, for comments on when the financial report would be released to shareholders, on the progress of the promised pelleting mill that was set for 2024 operation, a backlog of wool allegedly being stored outside at a board member’s farm, and for a summary of the number of staff that have left the co-op since March 2023.
Moore, in an email, responded with the following statement:
“The audit by EY has been completed and a report was issued in December of 2023. The information contained in the report will be tested during the judicial process. The Board of Directors will communicate the findings when they are given clearance to do so by legal counsel. The operations of the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers, with respect to employee turnover, financials and other confidential information is never shared at large. Issues of interest to shareholders with respect to operations will be shared with shareholders. The Board of Directors is presently engaged in drafting communications to share directly with our shareholders. At this time, we will not be issuing our messaging through media outlets.”
Related: Sparks fly at the Wool Growers’ AGM