The Iowa attorney general called him a "habitual violator" of state laws.
Labor Secretary Robert Reich called his farms "atrocious."
A federal investigator said it was "inconceivable" he didn't know his farms' conditions.
But appearances of egg and hog tycoon noir Austin "Jack" DeCoster in court have been rare -- as have convictions.
Last week DeCoster appeared in the Androscoggin County District Attorney's Office on behalf of Maine Contract Farming which pled guilty to failure to provide adequate shelter and sustenance for10 hens at its Turner egg farm.
To settle the civil charges brought by the state and approved in Lewiston District Court, Maine Contract Farming agreed to pay $25,000 in penalties and $100,000 to the Department of Agriculture for monitoring egg farms against future abuses across the state.
The civil settlement also provides for unannounced inspections, improved staff training and hiring of a veterinarian for Maine Contract Farming's five million hens which are held in battery cages now illegal in some countries and states.
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