Tomato mogul loses latest bid to get out of jail

A federal judge in Sacramento has denied another bid by tomato mogul Frederick Scott Salyer to be released on bail and ordered the defense team to stop filing motions on the matter.

The decision Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton means that Salyer will remain in Sacramento County Jail for now.

Last month, Karlton had set bail at $300,000 in cash and $6 million in property for Salyer, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple corruption counts as part of the federal investigation of defunct California tomato processor SK Foods.

Salyer, 54, has surrendered his passport, handed over the cash and had planned to use as collateral his Pebble Beach mansion, which is owned by his daughters’ trust.

But after the court learned that Salyer’s former wife had filed a legal claim on the property, Karlton refused to let Salyer use the home as collateral for the bond and rescinded his bail order.

Defense attorney Malcolm Segal argued in court papers that he couldn’t effectively build a defense because there was no room at the jail to meet with Salyer and review the stacks of evidence tied to the case.

Federal prosecutors argued that Salyer is desperate to flee and submitted transcripts of panicked jailhouse telephone calls Salyer made to show his desperation. In one, Salyer spoke to a female caller about trying to get his daughter Stephanie, who recently gave birth, to persuade her mother to lift the claim on the house.

“Stephanie has a weapon, she’s got that grandkid,” court documents quoted Salyer as saying.

Prosecutors allege that Salyer is the mastermind behind a scheme to defraud large food companies such as Kraft Foods Inc. by bribing their employees to buy inferior SK Foods tomato products.