M Slavin's and OceanBox’s ties revealed; creditors come forward
M Slavin & Sons and OceanBox have many of the same owners and executives, who refuse to pay overdue bills, according to creditors and a former M Slavin executive who spoke with SeafoodSource.
An OceanBox representative told SeafoodSource on 20 June that it acquired M. Slavin & Sons and that the company no longer exists. M Slavin & Sons left numerous suppliers unpaid starting at least this spring – simply not paying for shipments already received and not returning phone calls to the creditors, several suppliers told SeafoodSource. Now, the ownership group longtime East Coast U.S. seafood wholesaler and distributor will not pay what they owe, allege suppliers.
One seafood supplier told SeafoodSource that their company is owed USD 50,000 (EUR 44,000). Another said they are owed USD 47,500 (EUR 42,000), and a handful of other companies declined to list the amount owed or did not want to talk to SeafoodSource.
“They just called us out of the blue in April and started buying from us. Then they closed their doors in June,” one of the suppliers told SeafoodSource. “I think they knew in advance they were closing and took advantage of the fact that we are a new, smaller company.”
The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.-based building that M. Slavin & Sons and OceanBox are operating out of was foreclosed on by Northmill Capital on 14 June, according to the New York Post. OceanBox was listed as the sole bidder for the property.
In addition, M Slavin is several months behind on rent at its New Fulton Fish Market facility, according to the ex-executive, who left the company around 18 months ago. He alleges that M Slavin owes creditors USD 12 million (EUR 10.6 million) or more in total.
The former executive decided to come forward because “I was with them through their last bankruptcy in 2011, and saw how many people they hurt. Companies went out of business over their bankruptcy,” the executive said. “I don’t want to see people hurt again. They are hurting so many people.”
According to the ex-executive, OceanBox was established as a separate corporation from M Slavin. Then, Mitchell Slavin, owner of M. Slavin & Sons, bought out two of the partners.
OceanBox is now operated by Mitchell Slavin, Jordan Slavin (listed as vice president of OceanBox on LinkedIn), and John Lavin, who was the chief financial officer for M Slavin & Sons.
Lavin did not return phone calls from SeafoodSource seeking comment, and calls to Steven Levitt of Levitt LLP, the law firm that filed OceanBox's articles of incorporation, were not returned.