Four years after departing the Wonderful Pistachio co-operative, Fresno’s Assemi Family is in trial against The Wonderful Company alleging breach of contract over withheld payment from a pistachio crop when they were still working together.
The civil case is being heard in the Fresno County Superior Court this week.
The backstory: The Assemi Brothers company previously grew pistachios for the Wonderful Company, the largest pistachio grower and processor in the world, first becoming a supplier in 2004.
- Five years ago, the Assemis broke off the relationship and launched their own brand – Touchstone Pistachio Company.
- The Assemis filed a lawsuit against The Wonderful Company and owner Stewart Resnick in 2019 for withholding a $25 million grower bonus in 2018 as the break-up was underway.
Driving the news: Wonderful has argued that the grower bonus was discretionary and that the Assemis were not entitled to it because they stopped supplying pistachios.
- Farid Assemi testified in court Tuesday that no one at Wonderful every told him the bonus payments were discretionary or that they would not receive their grower bonus if they stopped being a supplier for the following year.
- Assemi and Resnick met in Los Angeles in 2018 ahead of the break-up, where Resnick showed a PowerPoint presentation to dissuade the Assemis from starting their own company, Assemi testified.
- As was initially stated in the lawsuit, Assemi also testified that Resnick allegedly told Wonderful’s growers in 2019 that “we are going to f— them,” referring to the Assemis.