Fiji Water’s Giant Parent Co. Tells David What’s What


The billionaire owners of Fiji Water, whose greenwashing we covered last year, are in the courts again, but not for resisting Fijian taxes. This time, they’re busy trying to squash a David who’s making trouble for their Goliath pistachio business. As the Associated Press reports, Persian immigrant Ali Amin is suing Fiji Water’s CEOs, Lynda and Stuart Resnick, for illegally making money off of their taxpayer-funded water reservoir:

As drought has hammered the region, leading farmers to abandon their dry fields, the Resnicks’ 48% stake in the Kern Water Bank, and underground pool that stores billions of gallons of freshwater, has become increasingly valuable… Amin’s lawsuit alleges he lost $22 million in revenue when growers lured by water supplies sold their nuts to the Resnicks’ plant, which processes almost two-thirds of the nation’s pistachios. Amin controls about 5 percent of the market.

After Amin’s suit was filed, two of Resnick’s companies filed a federal suit in Los Angeles against Amin, his processing plant and his agricultural consultant, alleging Amin’s plant engaged in false advertising that Resnick’s companies to suffer up to $15 million in damages. ‘There are very jealous people out there,’ Lynda Resnick said. ‘But we usually win because we have such good in-house counsel.’

That’s Lynda Resnick for you, always direct. Although I’m surprised she has such “good in-house” counsel as she’s tweeted our groundbreaking 2009 investigation (which I fact-checked) was “a load of lies and misconceptions” and a “total fabrication”: both statements could easily be considered slander. Another priceless quote, from the article excerpted above: “We’ve done more for the pistachio than anyone ever since it was planted in the Garden of Eden… My husband should be canonized for all the work he’s done.” Yes, canonized, for processing nuts. Oy. The Resnicks may not mind making extravagant statements, but they do seem to notice some bad publicity. Their latest ad for POM Wonderful pomegranate juice is being quickly pulled after Chicago residents expressed concern. The “concern” being that the bottle has a noose around its neck, reminding many residents of, well, nooses which were used for things other than tying bottles of juice. With their pomegranates, pistachios, and mandarin oranges, the Resnicks may be agribusiness giants, but their trees certainly bear some strange fruit.

 

 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.