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Spam heir suing over funds invested in quake prediction

The heir to the Spam fortune is suing to recover more than $3.6 million he invested to develop technology to predict earthquakes, money he says the inventor used to buy mobile homes.

Geordie Hormel, son of the founder of Hormel Co., wants to recover his property and investment and to dissolve Off the Wall, the company he formed with David Farnsworth of Portland in 1994.A judge has ordered U.S. marshals to seize property Hormel said his money paid for, including a $150,000 motor home, a $50,000 self-propelled motor home trailer and a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee. That property, along with other merchandise such as laptop computers and a $26,000 color copier, is being held by the federal court.

Yet, despite the lawsuit filed in August, Hormel and Farnsworth are in settlement negotiations and Hormel hasn't abandoned the earthquake-detection business, said Barry Caplan, Hormel's lawyer.

"Even when he filed, he hadn't given up," Caplan said. "He had just figured that he needed a different way to get a return for his investment."

Hormel declined to comment and Farnsworth did not return telephone calls.