GOP congressman’s farm deceptively sold the wrong type of lemon tree, lawsuit claims – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

GOP congressman’s farm deceptively sold the wrong type of lemon tree, lawsuit claims

Rep. John Duarte’s family nursery is facing a lawsuit over lemon trees.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. John Duarte, a vulnerable House Republican, owns a family tree farm in California.
His farm is facing a new lawsuit alleging that they deceptively sold the wrong kind of lemon tree.
That’s on top of an existing 2015 lawsuit alleging that his farm sold defective pistachio trees.

One of the most vulnerable House Republicans in the country is facing a new lawsuit over literally selling lemons.

In a 12-page complaint filed on August 31, California citrus grower Ron Turner accused Rep. John Duarte’s family nursery of deceptively selling him the wrong type of lemon tree in 2015 when the congressman was the company president.

Specifically, Turner says that Duarte Trees and Vines — a tree nursery located in California’s Central Valley — agreed to sell him 1,860 “8A Lisbon lemon trees,” but sold him seedless lemon trees instead. 

Because seedless lemon trees historically have yielded less fruit than their seeded counterparts, Turner in his suit claimed that he was cheated out of exactly $347,991.25 — a combination of the money he claims he could have made from better lemon trees, and the money he claims to be losing out on in the years ahead.

While an invoice attached to Turner’s complaint does corroborate that he was sold 8A Lisbon lemon trees, his suit may have a wrinkle: that type of lemon tree is known to have low seed counts.

Turner is accusing Duarte’s nursery of breach of contract, negligence, and fraud, and hopes to win at least the roughly $350,000 he says he lost, plus attorney fees. 

Neither Duarte Nursery nor Turner’s lawyer responded to Insider’s request for comment.

Duarte, a first-term Republican who represents a district won by President Joe Biden, defeated Democratic state assemblyman Adam Gray by fewer than 600 votes in 2022. Though his brother Jeff now runs the nursery, the congressman remains a co-owner.

It’s not Duarte’s — or his nursery’s — first brush with controversy.

In 2015, his nursery was sued by a group of pistachio growers who alleged he was selling pistachio tree rootstock afflicted with “bushy top syndrome,” a genetic mutation that causes the trees to have stunted growth. A judge has already ruled in favor of the growers, but the case remains ongoing, and the next phase is set to begin in 2024.

Additionally, Duarte was forced to pay $1.1 million to the federal government after violating the Clean Water Act by “ripping” federally-protected wetlands contained within land that he purchased in 2015.

Duarte, whose congressional office also did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, has argued that he and his family were the victims of heavy-handed environmental regulations.

“It’s a complete example of government overreach,” he told Fox News earlier this year.

On Capitol Hill, Duarte is a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, a post that offers him significant influence over the country’s agricultural policy — particularly as Congress considers the “Farm Bill,” a massive package of agriculture and food-related subsidies and regulations that requires re-authorization every five years.

Duarte was also among the Republicans who called for Rep. Kevin McCarthy — a fellow Central Valley congressman — to be reinstated as speaker after he was ousted last month.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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