Israeli Ilan Parente, ex-owner of a meat plant in Bridgewater, South Dakota left 44 tons of kosher bison meat in the plant's freezers and caused a strong odor to spread, which plagued an entire town. Parente, however, claims that the town residents only suffered of the smell for a few days and not months as reported.
He further claims that townsmen tried to prevent him from solving the problem in a timely manner and even says anti-Semitic sentiments were sensed.
"They're not used to Jews," he told Ynet. "This is 'little America', small towns where everyone is basically the same. Granted I've never had swastikas sprayed on my windows but there are Jewish stereotypes here. They try to portray the Jews who have kosher businesses as corrupt."
The case received wide media coverage and Parente told of e-mails he received reading "filthy Jew", "Pigs" and "Go back where you came from." The ex-Israeli, however, remains undaunted in face of such threats and is not worried about his business. "I am not afraid just as the Jewish people are never afraid. My businesses will not be compromised because the people I work with know who I am and what I am, and they won't be affected by this," he said.
Parente also noted that he has no problem returning to the town, where he still owns a home and employs several workers. "Despite what has been reported, the town has never sent me a bill with payment demands and the residents there are not cross with me, I have wonderful neighbors," he claimed.
Parente immigrated at the age of 14 with his family, based in the Nahalat Yehuda in Central Israel, to the United States. Talking to Ynet he related how he established his business within the meat market 11 years ago with his bison meat company 'Meats Bridgewater Quality.'
Bison, a kosher meat was plentiful in the Bridgewater area, prompting Parente to choose the South Dakota small town as a base to set up his plant. He said he invested over $ 1 million and received the townspeople's blessing. "Everyone was supportive of me. We lived peacefully together for quite a long time," he said.
'Meat left meant for dogs'
In January 2008 Parente decided to relocate his plant to Minnesota. "We left everything on with electricity. We left meat which was meant for dogs in the plant. Only that a year later the freezer had a technical malfunction."
Parente said that since temperatures in the area are extremely low during the winter, making it colder outside than in the freezer, he decided to take care of the problem when the weather warmed up.
Another malfunction occurred in May, which caused large amounts of ice to pile up. "I was told that as soon as the ice melted they would fix the problem. Only that when everything had melted the meat started spreading that odor."
Parente said that at that point he had started transporting the unprocessed meat to the dumpster, but since work had not been completed by the start of Shabbat he suspended transport until Monday, being a kosher plant.
Parente also claimed that his employees had mistakenly reported for work in the Minnesota plant instead of in Bridgewater delaying work another day.
"That day I received a call from the town's lawyer saying the smell in unbearable. I said, 'Alright, you're right' and immediately sent my neighbor and my two boys with a tractor to continue disposing of the waste, but when he arrived there the townsmen gave him problems and wouldn't let him work. They just about did everything in order not to let me finish the job. In any case, the smell only lasted two to three days."