1996, We were contacted by a local slaughter plant about selling slaughter ostriches. The plant was recruiting local ostrich breeders about bringing animals for slaughter with subsequent sale of the meat to Roger Gerber, Blackwing Ostrich Farms, Inc., with payment for the meat to be in 30 days following slaughter. Twenty ostriches from Bridgman's flock were delivered to the plant for slaughter. These twenty birds resulted in 3043 pounds of processed ostrich meat. The meat was picked up by Blackwing within three to four days following slaughter. The ostrich breeders (Bridgman's) were told they would receive $3.75 per pound of processed meat for a total of $11,411.25. After numerous calls to Blackwing Ostrich Farms, Inc. speaking directly to Mr. Gerber and other employees, the Bridgman's received on September 21, 1996, $575.00 (Check #5136) as partial payment with promises of the remainder, $10,836.25, to follow.
Numerous phone calls were made to Mr. Gerber. Each time they were promised payment, partial, within two weeks. Only payment received was $50.00 January 30, 1997 (Check #5547). Since that time contacts have been made with attorneys, state attorney generals of Illinois and Missouri, Better Business Bureau, all with no result. Rep. Kenneth Hulshoff office and was told he couldn't help but might be able to give the name of someone they could contact. This scam of Mr. Gerber resulted in the Bridgman's having to liquidate their entire ostrich breeding operation. This scam also affected a number of other ostrich breeders who lost significant amounts of money as well as the slaughter plant operator who was not paid for his services. In all telephone conversations Mrs. Bridgman had with Mr. Gerber, he never denied that he owed them the money. He just kept promising payment "within two weeks" until June 1998, when the Bridgman's were told that Blackwing Ostrich Farms, Inc., was in bankruptcy but now the company was Blackwing Ostrich Meats with the same phone numbers, address and employees. Roger Gerber was president of Blackwing Ostrich Meats. In September 1998, Mrs. Bridgman called Better Business Bureau, Chicago, Illinois. She was referred to the Illinois Secretary of State, Corporate Division by BBB. All they did was confirm that Roger Gerber was the president of said Blackwing Ostrich Meats and gave her the address of the company which was also the same as the defunct Blackwing Ostrich Farms, Inc. Since all of this has transpired, Mrs. Bridgman has found advertisements in The Ostrich News, dated August 1999, from Blackwing Ostrich Meats which they state they are buying hides, slaughter birds since July 1997, contracting birds and buying breeders. It makes us wonder why if they are still in business, they can't meet their prior commitments to the breeders they "Ripped Off". Are they still doing business in the same manner?