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Millner Ramona Dairy Stiffing Madison Contractor $23,000

Last year associates of dairy-disaster-maker Rick Millner purchased the old Swier Dairy near Ramona and renamed it the Lake County Dairy. I warned that if Millner was coming to the county, there was a fair chance that he'd bring his documented bad business and environmental practices with him.

The first manure-caked work boot has dropped: Millner's newest dairy is stiffing my neighbors. Drop by the Lake County Courthouse, and you can look at two mechanic's liens filed against Lake County Dairy, LLC, by Barger Construction, LLC, of Madison. Barger Construction filed both liens in June for work invoiced last February. One lien covers work done on the dairy's south barn (ridge cap, filler strips, wood framing, four overhead doors, etc.) for over $16,000. The other lien covers structural steel and wall panels installed on another shed for $7,200. As of 4 p.m. this afternoon, the courthouse had received no release indicating the dairy has paid these two bills.

So Lake County Dairy, managed by Rick Millner, owes a local Lake County business more than $23,000. We can hope that the dairy's delay in payment is an isolated incident... but its manager's history should make us nervous that an ugly pattern may be starting to repeat. Neighbors, keep an ear out for the other boot....

Update 19:32 MDT: In related dairy industry news, Rep. Stace Nelson notes on Facebook that Hanson County Concerned Citizens have won their court challenge against the 7000-head Hanson County Dairy proposed by Brookings CAFO kingpin Michael Crinion. Rep. Nelson and many of his neighbors contended that the dairy had waited too long to act on a conditional use permit and must now re-apply; in a 14-page ruling handed down today, Judge Tim Bjorkman agrees.


  1. Charlie Johnson 2012.08.15

    A contractor is stiffed. What happens if there is a manure spill? Or if tomorrow, Milner leaves the county leaving behind cows and manure? Where is the performance bond? Residents and taxpayers are so much at risk not only in Lake County but throughout South Dakota since we have no bonding for any CAFO operating under the general livestock permit.

  2. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16


    You need to be careful in the statements you make about businesses--any business.

    Leins are not proof or admissions of debts owed.

    "Dairy-disaster-maker" may be libelous.

  3. larry kurtz 2012.08.16

    I'll write the check for his lawyer, dipshit.

  4. Justin 2012.08.16

    Isn't falsely accusing somebody of a crime in print (say libel) libelous, per se?

    I think you are the one being awfully bold Julie.

  5. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    All's I'm saying is many businesses are very protective of their reputations.

  6. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    --Isn’t falsely accusing somebody of a crime in print (say libel) libelous, per se?

    Who did that, who was the accused, and what was the alleged crime?

  7. Justin 2012.08.16

    you, Cory, libel

    I thought that was pretty self-evident.

  8. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    Don't be coy--what crime are you referring to?

  9. larry kurtz 2012.08.16

    Like Pat Powers did at the SOS office: copy files to use as political weapons.

  10. Justin 2012.08.16

    The crime of libel. I'm not being coy: I dont think I could be any clearer if I had a diagram attached.

  11. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    Oh I see.

    Newsflash: Libel is not a "crime".

    In any case, if what Cory wrote was in any way false, and it damaged the dairy's reputation, the dairy could seek damages from Cory.

    A lein is not proof of a debt.

    "Millner’s newest dairy is stiffing my neighbors" is dangerous, for it is reasonable to assert that the work done was substandard and the dairy is stiffing no one.

    "owes a local Lake County business more than $23,000." So say ONE party, and it's always dangerous to post part of any story.

    "dairy-disaster-maker " belies believability in that this dairy operation is in the business of making disasters?

    That's all I was pointing out.

  12. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    One should not use a blog to blast your neighbors, EVEN if they are a nuisance.

    It's not the proper place. The downside is not worth it.

  13. Justin 2012.08.16

    No, SD doesn't have a criminal libel statute, but about 20 states do. One gentleman in Colorado was sentenced to 23 years in prison for criminal internet libel.

    It is a tort here.

    For somebody who uses as much hateful false language as you do, you don't seem to have a good handle on the details.

    The rumors of our "right to" online anonymity are greatly exaggerated. You have the right to your speech but you are also liable for it.

  14. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    --For somebody who uses as much hateful false language as you do, you don’t seem to have a good handle on the details.

    Yeah, like calling libel a crime? It's called tranference and it's psychologically ugly.

    Please quote my "hateful false language"?

  15. Justin 2012.08.16

    Why do I need to quote it? I will just wait for your next post.

  16. Justin 2012.08.16

    And we can add another word to the list of words you have misused.

  17. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    --One gentleman in Colorado was sentenced to 23 years in prison for criminal internet libel.

    Actually, CO took criminal libel off its books.

    You're embarassing yourself.

  18. Julie Gross (NE) 2012.08.16

    --The crime of libel. I’m not being coy: I dont think I could be any clearer if I had a diagram attached.

    You're right--you weren't being coy.

    Just uniformed, as usual.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.16

    Julie, I duly note and dismiss your legal advice. I have throughly documented the economic and environmental harms caused by Rick Millner and his past dairy ventures... every one of those dairy ventures. Millner has damaged his own reputation with chronic violations of local, state, and federal regulations and short-changing of local suppliers and contractors. I feel perfectly comfortable standing by every word I said.

  20. Sandra. Banish 2012.08.22

    I sold silage to Veblen East Dairy in 2008. That dairy went bankrupt. The dairy was sold. Debts forgiven, including over one million dollars owed to me for my 2008 corn crop.
    That is the fact. Be careful. Don't want this to happen to anyone else.

  21. Ken Lyons 2012.08.22

    Myself and another neighbor were personally guaranteed payment by Rick Millner, that if Veblen East for some unforeseen reason (which would not happen) could not pay us for silage and shelled corn to the tune of over one million dollars he himself Rick Millner would pay the money owed. Rick Millner's word is not worth the air used to speak them. Do not extend any credit to Rick Millner or do work for him that is not paid for up front in CASH.

  22. Tanner Brook 2012.09.14

    I hope all you dairy haters out there never drink a ounce of milk, eat an ounce of cheese, eat pizza, ect. Sit on a forum and bash dairies but probably the 1st thing you do in a grocery store is grab the milk cheese or butter. Hipocrits

  23. Justin 2012.09.14

    Yes, where will we ever get dairy without creating an uneconomic one in SD? The Governor better find an inside deal to build an auto manufacturer here so we can all drive cars, too!

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.14

    Tanner, I am no hypocrite. I enjoy cheese and milk every day, but I don't have to surrender clean water, clean air, fair play, and the rule of law to get them.

    And "Tanner", check your e-mail. I was unable to verify your identity by sending to the address you provided.

  25. Sandra. Banish 2012.09.14

    I like dairies. I don't like it when a business don't
    pay their bills and breaks the law regarding
    Cow poo.

  26. Justin 2012.09.14

    I love Dimock cheese! (although I wish it was cheaper at Hy-Vee)

Comments are closed.