89 year-old Jim Caplis appeared on the KGVO Talk Back program on Friday to give his side of a controversy that has closed his business, K&C Foods in Missoula.

Just moments before the program aired, Marty Zaluski with the Montana Department of Livestock emailed 18 pages of documents chronicling the complaints against Mr. Caplis.

One of the complaints stated that ‘the entire establishment was in poor sanitary condition. Filth, rust and peeling paint was present throughout the facility. The ceiling in the processing room had a large amount of peeling paint. Although this was part of a plan to improve sanitary conditions, progress in completing the repairs were not done.’

Caplis replied that he complied with the complaint.

“They told me to fix the ceiling above the grinder-mixer and I fixed that,” said Caplis. “Then next time they told me to fix the ceiling above the saw, and he forgot to tell you that I fixed it.”

When the agency delivered the notice that effectively shut down his shop, Caplis said he knew it was coming.

“They did that three times, and when he walked in that morning he said ‘well, this last one I gave you time to do it and you’re three days over,’ I knew what he was going to do and he suspended my operation, what did he tell me to do? Before he left he said ‘I’ll show you what’s wrong, and he took his camera and was going around the room. He should never have acted like that.”

Caplis related an incident in early July when he felt it necessary to demand that several inspectors to leave his shop.

“The first or second of July in my little shop, I had four inspectors in my shop at one time,” he said. “All of them were saying this and this and this. Well, I got a little irritated and I got up and I said ‘this conversation is over with. You guys are making $25 or $30 an hour and you’re down here wasting taxpayer’s money, and I said I want you out of here.’ So, when the one guy got up and I was giving him a preaching to he said ‘I don’t have to take this’. They were picking on one guy alone in a shop for twenty minutes? So, I kicked them out of there.”

Caplis said the lesson he learned is ‘you’re going to get picked on if you’re the little guy’.

Caplis said he had planned to retire in July, but after three surgeries he needed to stay in business to pay his medical bills. Now, he must take his product to another location for processing.

KGVO asked Mr Zaluski to join the discussion but he declined and said the attached documents would be sufficient.