Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008

Rolando CEO stands by assurances plant will open

By Billy Davis
More than two months after he promised a dying man Rolando Curtis Foods would open soon, Rolando CEO Roland Butler still says the food company will begin production in coming weeks.

“We’re going to open up shortly,” Butler said this week. “I anticipate, worst case scenario, in the next couple of weeks having everything taken care of so we’ll open up.”

Butler had delivered his last assurance in August, days after the August 8 death of Supervisor Robert Avant, when the CEO told the story of making a bedside promise to the powerful county supervisor.

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Acting on behalf of the county, Avant had pursued an agreement with Butler that would give him an empty county-owned plant in Crenshaw in exchange for jobs. Supervisors gave Butler the plant in August, 2006, but to date no workers have been hired. A ribbon cutting was held there 13 months ago.

With Butler in possession of former county property, The Panolian has updated its readers of the non-opened plant, and its owner’s litany of explanations for delay, ever since. The weak economy is affecting the start-up date, he said Wednesday.  

Asked if anyone is working at the plant, located at 100 Jones Street, Butler said a three-person work crew and an office secretary are employed.

“They’re cleaning up and keeping the building in top shape,” Butler said of the work crew.