Tuesday, March 20, 2007

16 months till justice

Mark Anderson, 58, who subleased space at the Wines Central warehouse, was charged today in federal court with 19 felonies, including arson, interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained property, fraud and tax evasion in connection to the Mare Island warehouse fire of October 12, 2005. At the time, the warehouse contained 6 million bottles of wine owned by 92 wineries and 43 private collectors worth an estimated $250 million. Allegedly Anderson started the warehouse fire in his rented space to cover-up his secondary business of selling the wines he was being paid to store.

This fire was one of those truly tragic events in the wine world:

- Wines Central had to lay off more than 15 employees with the cost of
rebuilding is about $12 million.
- Two firefighters were injured battling the
- Long Meadow Ranch Winery in Rutherford lost 5,000 cases of wine
from as far back as 1994.
- Tres Sabores winery had part of there 2002
vintage and all of there 2003 vintage at the warehouse.
There are probably 135 individual stories about loss and I think Ted Hall, owner of the Long Meadow Ranch Winery, said it best "We lost our entire history. It's irreplaceable." Maybe now those who have lost so much can gain just a little back knowing the state and federal government have caught their man.

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