‘Smiling Bob’ sells for $2.75m to Ohio businessman

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

An Ohio real estate developer has purchased Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, the bankrupt manufacturer of the infamous Smiling Bob male sexual enhancement supplements, for $2.75m.

Chuck Kubicki, through an investment company called Pristine Bay, will take charge of the company after the deal to purchase Berkeley’s inventory, accounts receivable, brand names and other assets is finalized.

Berkeley went bankrupt in August after its founder Steve Warshak was jailed for 25 years on 93 counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering, along with a number of his associates and his mother, who was handed a suspended sentence. Charges included lying to its banks, concealing profits and misleading customers with false products claims.

Berkely has continued to trade since being hit by the catastrophe but owes the US government $474m.

Local pride

Pristine Bay was one of 12 other offers from across the country that enlisted in a bankruptcy auction, but was the only bidder left by the time the auction deadline passed on December 5.

Kubicki cited local pride as a motivating factor in the purchase of Berkeley which employs about 200 people.

“The primary reason I bought it was to save the jobs in Forest Park,”​ Kubicki told the Business Courier of Cincinnati.“Other people who were going to buy it were going to move it out of town. They are a clean, straight-operated company now.”

The bankruptcy trustee, Richard Nelson, said he was satisfied with the terms of the deal.

“It had a positive cash flow in day-to-day operations, but you know, judgments, forfeiture orders and penalties made it impossible to pay its way out of debt,”​ he said.

Berkeley’s range consists of about a dozen herbal supplements that claim to boost energy and memory, manage weight and assist sleep.

The male enhancement product, Enzyte, includes the ingredients Korean red ginseng, ginkgo biloba, zinc, and octacosanol.

At the time of the conviction in August, veteran Colorado-based food-industry lawyer, James R Prochnow, of the firm Greenberg Traurig, called the verdict historic in its severity and said it sent a clear message to the dietary supplements industry.

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