Austin “Jack” DeCoster, the notorious former Turner egg farmer, wants to serve a sentence for selling adulterated eggs in New Hampshire, rather than Iowa, where he was tried.

DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, pleaded guilty in 2014 to the federal charges. The bad eggs caused a 2010 salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands of people.

In an unusual decision, the executives were sentenced to three months in jail in addition to being ordered to pay individual fines of $100,000 each. Their company, Quality Egg, was fined $6.79 million.

The pair had appealed their prison sentences to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last month declined to take up their cases. Now the two are seeking to change the terms of their imprisonment.

Jack DeCoster, 82, had been scheduled to serve his sentence in a county jail in Clarion, Iowa, or a federal prison in Yankton, South Dakota, both of which would put him near his family in the Midwest. But in a filing this week with the federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jack DeCoster said he and his wife, Pat DeCoster, have permanently relocated back to Turner to be “closer to his doctors and church community,” and he wants to be assigned to the nearest federal prison in Berlin, New Hampshire. The court filings did not say where Peter DeCoster wanted to serve his sentence.

The filing also said that Jack DeCoster thinks he would be better able to get medical care at the federal facility in New Hampshire. According to his lawyers, he suffers from hypertension, hyperlipidemia, anemia, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, prostate cancer and pre-diabetes.


In addition to the change in location, Jack and Peter DeCoster want to change the order in which they will serve their sentences.

Originally, Jack DeCoster was to serve his sentence first, but now the two are asking the court to allow Peter DeCoster to go to prison first. Peter DeCoster asked that his sentence begin after July 20 so he can attend his daughter’s wedding on July 15 in Iowa. After Peter DeCoster serves his three months, Jack DeCoster would report a month later, according to the filing.

Changing the order in which they serve their sentences, the filing said, would allow Jack DeCoster to have cardiac tests performed. He had a recent episode of dizziness and weakness, the filing says.

Government lawyers in Iowa indicated they would not oppose the motion to change the location and timing of reporting for jail, but the court hasn’t ruled yet.

In Maine, the company was repeatedly sued and fined for breaking labor, worker and food safety laws, violating environmental rules and for animal cruelty. In 1996, U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the conditions for workers at the Turner egg farms “as dangerous and oppressive as any sweatshop we’ve seen.”

The company paid the federal government $2 million and a year later settled with the Mexican government, paying $3.2 million to settle allegations that it mistreated Mexican national workers based on their race.

Jack DeCoster eventually sold his Maine operations in 2011 and moved most of them to Iowa, where he was placed on probation for hiring undocumented workers. State authorities eventually called him a “habitual offender” of employment laws and the governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, called Jack DeCoster “a bad egg” who cheated contractors, didn’t pay his bills, hired illegal immigrants and broke environmental laws.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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