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ORLANDO-Hoping a name change will erase the public’s memory of Mid-Florida Freezer Warehouses Ltd.’s Federal conviction in a 30-year tainted juice scheme, Chesapeake Logistics Inc. of Tampa, FL is buying the assets of the Port Canaveral, FL firm for $31 million. Port Canaveral is 60 miles east of Downtown.

The Tampa firm is in its due diligence period prior to an expected year-end closing on the deal. Chesapeake owner Greg Hughes has a $100,000 deposit riding on the transaction.

Patrick T. Lee, managing partner of Mid-Florida Freezer, is negotiating the contract with Chesapeaker. Lee faces up to 10 years in prison for participating in the scheme to defraud the US Customs Service by concealing and later selling contaminated fruit juices.

Employees testified at the June trial in Orlando that management had ordered them to repair damaged juice drums and refill the containers with contaminated juice to reduce spoilage accounting figures. However, the government could not show what public health damage, if any, occurred from the contaminated juices.

Mid-Florida Freezer, as a corporate defendant, was sentenced to three years probation; ordered to make a $1.5 million payment in lieu of forfeiting the company; and a $50,000 fine. Federal prosecutors had sought a larger fine and monetary settlement.

Lee, the former mayor of Cape Canaveral, personally guaranteed the $1.5 million payment. He was making $225,000 a year at Mid-Florida Freezer

Jeffrey Allen,a warehouse manager, received a 30-month prison sentence and a $6,000 fine for his part in the scam.

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