Federal authorities moved in last week to arrest deli salad magnate Whitney Ogden Oates III on charges of manipulating the East End coleslaw supply this past summer in order to profit from artificially inflated coleslaw prices.
Oates is charged with diverting shipments of coleslaw and hoarding vast quantities of the popular cabbage salad in his high-security Cutchogue coleslaw warehouses. Angie Salett, president of the East End Coleslaw Authority, detailed the charges against Oates in a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
“We charge that Mr. Oates maliciously used his monopoly control of the coleslaw supply in order to create the fraudulent illusion of a coleslaw shortage on the East End,” Salett said, reading from a prepared statement. “Mr. Oates then held area seafood restaurants hostage to his high coleslaw prices, and the restaurants were forced to pass Mr. Oates’s extortionate coleslaw prices along to their diners.”
Salett was unable to confirm or deny that numerous coleslaw shortages experienced across the East End were actually the result of Mr. Oates’s market manipulation.
“The Coleslaw Authority is currently examining Mr. Oates’s business records to determine if there is a link between his actions and any past breakdowns in local coleslaw supplies. We are not ruling out the possibility of additional charges against Mr. Oates.”
Oates’s manipulations of the coleslaw supply were only discovered after the refrigeration units at one of his Cutchogue warehouses stopped working and the resulting odor of mountains of rotting coleslaw excited the suspicions of neighbors. Following arraignment, Oates was released on $1 million bail.