Judge denies ex-Celadon executive’s request to vacation at resort in Mexico

August 7, 2020

Greg Grisolano

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Calling the request “not advisable,” a federal judge in Indiana has denied a former Celadon executive’s request to travel to a resort in Mexico next month to celebrate his 40th birthday.

William Meek, the former chief operating officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group, was one of the first of the company’s executives to be arrested and charged last December by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a multimillion-dollar fraud.

The complaint accuses him and former CFO Bobby Lee Peavler of taking part in a complex securities and accounting fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $60 million in shareholder value.

“In sum, the Court finds that Mr. Meek’s request to travel international seeks to relax the conditions of pretrial release to an impermissible degree,” Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson wrote in the order denying the trip.

The order was handed down on Friday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. Attorneys for Meek filed the travel request on July 30. He requested permission to travel to the adults-only Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Resort in Playa Del Carmen from Sept. 3 to Sept. 9 with his wife and family friends. A travel itinerary included with Meek’s request shows that resort is “adults only” and that couple paid $2,516.88 for the six-night stay.

Prosecutors urged the judge to reject the request for a number of reasons, including concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Such a request – particularly from a defendant facing the kinds of charges Meek is facing, and during a global pandemic – is not one that the government can endorse,” prosecutors wrote in their opposition to Meek’s motion.

Read the judge’s order here.

Celadon fallout

Meek and Peavler were indicted on Dec. 5, 2019. Celadon Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 9, announcing it would shut down all of its business operations. The company had a total of 4,000 employees, 3,300 tractors and 10,000 trailers.

In a statement issued with the announcement, then-Celadon CEO Paul Svinland said the company faced “a number of legacy and market headwinds” that made it impossible to keep the business going. The statement also referenced the company’s “significant costs associated with a multiyear investigation” into a securities fraud scheme involving former members of the management team. In 2016, the company entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay more than $42 million in restitution in connection to securities fraud.

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.