All is well at Ferrara Pan Candy Co., Salvatore Ferrara II told the Forest Park Review last week. He did acknowledge, though, an argument among board members at a recent meeting. He also called police when he returned to the company’s Forest Park headquarters and saw the cars of board members and non-shareholders parked outside. He said he thought they had come to the headquarters to continue the dispute.
Ferrara vehemently denied any shakeup on the company’s board. Last week, the Chicago Tribune reported that the candy company’s board had voted Ferrara out as president and CEO. Forest Park Det. Jarlath Heveran also told the Review that Ferrara had been replaced by Jim Buffardi, the company treasurer and board member.
Ferrara called the Review to challenge those reports, and issued the following statement: “The board of directors as well as the executive officers of Ferrara Pan Company are consistent, and have been, for the last 15 to 20 years. There have been no additions or deletions from those two entities. All the same family members occupy the same positions.”
Last week, the Review reported on a May 11 incident in which Ferrara allegedly called police because he was not allowed access to the candy company’s headquarters at 7301 Harrison St.
Heveran, who was at the scene, said Ferrara had just returned from a meeting in Chicago where he was stripped of his presidency and was then denied access at the gate.
“I think it was a shock to him [being denied access], so he called police,” Heveran said.
Nonsense, Ferrara said. He admitted to being in an argument with board members and said that when he returned from the meeting, he saw the cars of persons who were at the meeting and of non-shareholders parked outside. Ferrara said he called the police because “shareholders came to the office and wanted to continue [arguing].”
At no point, Ferrara said, was he advised to leave the premises, as the Forest Park Police Department and the Tribune reported.
“You’ll have to call them and ask,” Ferrara said, when queried why his account of the event differed from that of Forest Park’s police.
“He was told that he was not going to be allowed to re-enter the building, and that he would be better off if he just left,” Deputy Chief Tom Aftanas told the Review.
When Aftanas was contacted later for clarity, he said, “I don’t know if [Ferrara] was asked to leave by [Forest Park police], somebody else in the company, or the security that were present.” Aftanas was not on the scene and no report of the incident was made because no charges were filed, he said.
It is not clear what was discussed at last week’s board meeting or if there were any temporary company shakeups. While discussing the incident with the Review, Ferrara called on Buffardi to join the conversation over speakerphone.
“It was a family incident,” Buffardi said, adding that he was not the president.
They would not elaborate on last week’s disagreement although the Tribune reported last week that the discussions centered on the company’s finances.
Ferrara said, “As in all family businesses, especially those that are over 103 years old, arguments are not atypical, are not unusual. We experienced such an incident a few days ago. It was minor and not relative to business, and resolved as we have been able to do for almost five generations. Our business is as strong as ever. We are fiscally solvent and continue to grow at a very rapid pace.”
According to a Crain’s Chicago Business blog post that linked to the Review’s reporting, candy-industry executives who know Ferrara claim that he is loose with his spending. Crain’s also reported that some shareholders are unhappy with the company’s recent dividends.
Nonetheless, Ferrara will host the National Confectioners Association’s 2011 Sweets and Snacks Expo this week at McCormick Place in downtown in Chicago.