ADM Sold Plant to Sonny Perdue at a Steep Discount: Report

June 29, 2021
Archer Daniels Midland paid $5.5 million for the South Carolina property, but sold it to the USDA secretary for $250,000.

Eyebrows are being raised at a report that Archer Daniels Midland Co. sold a grain storage plant to Sonny Perdue for less than 5% of its apparent value just weeks before he was confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture.

A report today (June 29) in the Washington Post said ADM paid $5.5 million for the South Carolina property six years earlier, but sold it to Perdue for $250,000. The deal occurred in February 2017, just after then-President Donald Trump tapped Perdue to lead USDA but before his Senate confirmation.

ADM spokesperson Jackie Anderson told the Post the company did not sell the plant at a discount and that ADM began negotiations with Perdue's former company, AGrowStar, in 2015 before Trump was elected. “This was nothing more than a business decision to sell a significantly underperforming asset,” she was quoted.

Danny Brown, the former president of AGrowStar, confirmed to the Post that negotiations began in late 2015, but noted ADM wanted $4 million for the plant. The price and the timing have some calling for a special prosecutor to investigate.

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