Lawsuit pending in Gwinnett against Brian Kemp, agriculture business over loan

Brian Kemp

A lawsuit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp and a company that he invested in is pending in Gwinnett County Superior Court.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Toccoa-based RLP Investments LLC against Kemp, Hart AgStrong LLC and Robert E. Davis in Superior Court of Stephens County. Court records show it was transferred to Gwinnett County’s Superior Court in late December.

RLP Investments issued a press release about the case Friday, in which it said the lawsuit was filed to reclaim a $500,000 business loan that was in default. The investment company said it had been a loan originator to Hart AgStrong.

“We loaned $500,000 to Hart Ag Strong, LLC, based in part on personal guarantees from Robert Davis and Brian Kemp, who were engaged in the production and sale of canola oil to other agriculture businesses,” RLP principal officer Rick Phillips said in a statement.

A motions hearing in the case is currently scheduled to take place in Gwinnett Superior Court at 9 a.m. May 30, with Judge George F. Hutchinson III presiding over the case. The company’s statement highlighted the involvement of Kemp, who is one of several Republicans running for governor this year.

The case specifically centers around a 2016 loan RLP made to Hart AgStrong. It was the investment firm’s second loan to the Bowersville-based agricultural company, which produces canola and sunflower oil and meal.

“Canola oil, for example, is a popular and health-conscious food or feed-additive according to our market research,” Phillips said. “Our original loan of $600,000 to Hart AgStrong was repaid in a timely way, but the subsequent loan ($500,000) is in default. It’s disappointing that they won’t pay, and we are forced to file a lawsuit whenever a loan is in default like this one.”

On Friday Kemp expressed confidence in Hart AgStrong’s ability to handle the case and get the loan dispute resolved.

“During my 30 years as a small businessman, I have invested in dozens of companies in Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement released to the Daily Post. “I am one of many investors in Hart AgStrong and know they are working hard to resolve this issue.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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