NPA emerges from bankruptcy

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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The Natural Products Association has emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, the group announced yesterday.

The reorganization will put the organization on a secure financial footing for the future, according to NPA president and CEO Daniel Fabricant, PhD. NPA said it had suffered through six straight years of losses, according to a Reuters news report on the bankruptcy filing. Fabricant took over the reins of NPA in April, 2014​.

New secure foundation

Going forward the resolution brought by the end of the bankruptcy proceeding will enable NPA to better serve its members, Fabricant said.  It’s the final piece of a restructuring that he said he has undertaken since the start of his tenure.

“Look, NPA had been losing money before I came on board,” ​Fabricant said. “With things like the litigation now in the rear view mirror we can focus on our day jobs, so to speak.”

“NPA has gone through a complete change in the past six years, in the board structure, in the voting structure . . . all of that has changed and rightfully so,”​ he said.

“As shown by our activities during these proceedings — adding new executive leadership, clinching legislative victories at the federal and state levels, and maintaining NPA’s best-in-class educational and advocacy events — we proved why we are the industry leader and have been since 1936.  NPA also earned recognition as a Codex Alimentarius observer, meaning NPA will contribute its expertise to the development of global health standards,”​ Fabricant added.

Weickert lawsuit

NPA cited the ongoing lawsuit with former chief financial officer Brent Weickert as part of the reason the organization was in financial straits. In a bombastic lawsuit filed in late 2015, Weickert charged NPA and Fabricant with creating a hostile workplace and with wrongful termination​ . Weickert alleged that he was terminated when he tried to bring his concerns to NPA’s board of directors about how Fabricant was running the NPA office. 

According to the Reuters report on the bankruptcy petition, Weickert held the largest claim against NPA, a disputed $780,179 arbitration award as a settlement of his lawsuit. 

Lawsuit against board members

In connection with the Weickert lawsuit, NPA sued 10 current and former board members​ with whom Weickert had communicated about his concerns about Fabricant. 

NPA sued the 10 board members (only four of whom were still in office when the suit was filed in early 2016), alleging that having private conversations with Weickert was “undermining NPA’s mission.”​ 

In that filing, NPA claimed that under Fabricant’s leadership membership had rebounded and the organization had filed comments on federal legislation more frequently than other industry trade organizations. The lawsuit also claimed that despite Weickert’s claims of financial impropriety, Fabricant had put NPA on a more secure financial footing, in part by reforming the dues structure and rebuilding the membership, with the addition of 350 new members since April 2014. The organization now claims more than 700 members, Fabricant said.

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