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Suicide no end to Maraschino Cherry Tale

BROOKLYN (CN) - Survivors of a maraschino cherry factory owner who shot himself after he was found using his business as a front to grow marijuana have been sued by a fruit distributor that claims the business owes it $106,000.

California Fruit Processors, of Stockton, claims in Federal Court that Dell's Maraschino Cherries and its now-deceased owner, Arthur R. Mondella, owe $106,000 for produce delivered between Feb. 3 and 6.

Mondella, a third-generation maraschino cherry factory owner, shot himself Tuesday in the bathroom of his Brooklyn office when investigators homed in on a huge pot farm beneath his factory.

Mondella cooperated with police for hours Tuesday, until they found a room that apparently had 80 to 90 lbs. of pot in it. He then asked to use the bathroom, where he shot himself.

Mondella's company distributes maraschino cherries nationwide, including to several chain restaurants.

Maraschino cherries are dyed red and soaked in sugar and chemicals.

The factory in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn is already back in business.

The fruit distributor's attorney, Gregory Brown with McCarron & Diess, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Also named as defendants are Antoinette Mondella and Joanne T. Mondella, also known as Joanne Capece.

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