Yank Barry

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Yank Barry
Yank Barry singing
Born Gerald Barry Falovitch
(1948-01-29) 29 January 1948 (age 66)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian (also a citizen of the Bahamas)[1]
Occupation Former musician, founder and CEO of VitaPro, and founder Global Village Champions Foundation
Spouse(s) Yvette Barry

Yank Barry (born January 29, 1948 as Gerald Barry Falovitch) is a Canadian musician and businessman.[2][3][4] He is the founder and CEO of VitaPro Foods, a company that makes textured vegetable protein for use as a meat substitute and another venture called ProPectin,[3] and the founder of the charity Global Village Champions Foundation.

Early life[edit]

Barry was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1948[5] to Arthur Falovitch and Ruth (née Reznick) Falovitch-Pickholtz.[6] He grew up in the Jewish community of Montreal and had five siblings.[6][7]

Musical career[edit]

Barry was singer and bass player of a band called The Footprints during 1966–1968.[8] The band released three singles through Columbia and Capitol Records before disbanding.[8]

Between 1968 and 1970, Barry was the lead singer of a band that toured the East Coast as "The Kingsmen" and played The Kingsmen's music. This version of the band was put together by the Kingsmen management, who believed they owned the rights to the name, and toured until the group was disbanded after a cease and desist order was filed by the original group.[9]

In 1971 he recorded his rock opera "The Diary of Mr. Gray" to raise money for drug prevention.[2] In 1972, Barry ran a record company financed by John Royden McConnell.[10]

Barry wrote the song "Christmas Time Again" that was performed by Engelbert Humperdinck on his 1977 album Christmas Tyme.[11]

In 1979, he produced performances of the 1974 explicit musical play Let My People Come, in Montreal.[12]


Main article: VitaPro

Barry is the CEO of VitaPro Foods Inc. It sells textured vegetable protein soy-based meat substitutes, primarily to prisons and other institutional feeding operations.[3]

According to an investigative report by the Montreal Gazette from October 1998, Global Village Market (GVM) was a venture owned by Barry through which he sold VitaPro.[5] The company’s motto was “doing well by doing good”.[5]

Barry developed VitaPro in 1989 or 1990.[1][13] It was originally a South African venture.[3] According to the VitaPro website, the company now operates from Belize and Bulgaria.[14]

When asked about VitaPro earnings, Barry said: “My company is terribly private in a bunch of countries. I’m a resident of the Bahamas. I don’t pay tax. I’m not American. Let’s say we do over a billion dollars in business. How much I earn is up to me. I give it to kids. I made a deal with God that whatever I save in tax, I give to kids.”[15]

Barry also owns another venture called ProPectin, a Bulgarian company he purchased in 2009 that manufactures a pharmaceutical-grade apple pectin, which Barry credits for having cured his Type II diabetes.[3]

Global Village Champions Foundation[edit]

Yank Barry and Muhammad Ali at an award ceremony

Barry founded and heads a charity called Global Village Champions Foundation.[4] The charity is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the United States, with net assets of about US$11,500 and gross receipts of about US$250,000 for 2012.[16] The foundation, which is funded by the profits from his VitaPro food business,[17] is said to have spent more than US$1 million feeding and housing Syrian refugees in Bulgaria since 2012.[4] The charity says to have supplied 772 million meals to the needy.[5]

He has befriended several boxing champions who have supported his charitable work. Retired champion boxer Evander Holyfield became Global Village Champions's "Goodwill Ambassador" in 2013.[4][18] Retired boxer Muhammad Ali has also been his personal friend and has worked with Barry on his humanitarian projects.[1][19] After Barry's involvement in disaster relief in the Philipines, his charity work has also received support from Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.[20]

Court cases[edit]

In 1982, Barry was convicted of extortion from and conspiracy against John Royden McConnell, and served 10 months of a 6-year prison term.[4][21]

In a 1982 civil case, a separate court ruled that Barry had extorted money from McConnell in record company dealings, requiring a financial award of C$285,000.[10] In 1987 he declared bankruptcy, voiding the award.[22][1] Barry said in an October 2013 Larry King interview that he credited the extortion conviction for changing his personal life.[23]

In 1998, Barry was indicted on corruption charges related to a VitaPro contract worth US$34 million with the Texas prisons.[24][25] In 1999, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the VitaPro contract with the Texas prisons was invalid.[26] After a trial in 2001, he was initially declared guilty, but the verdict was thrown out by U.S district court judge and a new trial was ordered in 2007.[24] He was then acquitted in 2008 after a bench retrial.[24] Barry said the charges were politically motivated.[22][25]

In 2014, Barry filed suit against four Wikipedia editors claiming their edits to the Yank Barry Wikipedia page constituted defamation.[27] The suit was dismissed.

Personal life[edit]

Barry is married to Yvette Barry, formerly an appraiser at an art gallery in Sarasota, Florida.[3] He is a resident of the Bahamas,[15] and a part-time resident of the Sarasota area.[3][19] He was previously married to Daveda M. Kert, with whom he had at least one child (a daughter, Lelanea Anne Barry, who died suddenly in 2004 at the age of 35).[10][28]


  1. ^ a b c d Cohan, William D. (15 August 2011). "Adding to the Confusion". ARTnews. 
  2. ^ a b "Yank Barry". Museum of Candian Music. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Sarasota resident fights for peace all over world". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Reguly, Eric (22 November 2013). "Yank Barry, motivated by past sins, becomes a philanthropist". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d O'Connor, Joe (15 April 2012). "The world according to Yank: Montrealer with checkered past gets Nobel nod, or does he?". National Post. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Ruth (Reznick) Falovitch Obituary". Montreal Gazette. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Social Notes – Montreal Feb 24, 1961". Canadian Jewish Review. 24 February 1961. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Trueman, Ivor. "Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares". borderlinebooks. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Kingsmen web site historical page". Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "Pair convicted of extorting $82,000 from heir". Montreal Gazette. 22 May 1982. p. A3. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Discogs". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Let My People Come (advertisement)". Montreal Gazette. 16 June 1979. p. 12. 
  13. ^ Silcoff, Sean (1 August 2001). "Montreal Soy Mogul Charged With Bribery Over Prison Meal Deal". National Post. 
  14. ^ "VitaPro – contact". VitaPro Foods, Inc. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "He’s getting champion fighters to help fight hunger". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "IRS Form 990 for Global Village Champions Foundation Inc.". Internal Revenue Service. August 12, 2013. 
  17. ^ Batha, Emma (27 February 2014). "Soy protein billionaire plans to buy deserted homes in Bulgaria for Syrian refugees - reports". Thomson Reuters Foundation. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Winograd, David (14 November 2013). "'Jewish Schindler' Taps Boxing Legend Evander Holyfield to Help Syrian Refugees". TIME.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Cox, Billy (12 March 2014). "Sarasota man again nominated for Nobel prize". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "Yank Barry nominated for Nobel Peace Prize". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ex-con heads firm at center of prison brouhaha". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. 27 March 1996. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Macdonell, Rod (10 October 1998). "Barry faces bribery charge in Texas". Montreal Gazette. 
  23. ^ "Larry King interview". YouTube. 
  24. ^ a b c "Barry acquitted in Texas prison food scandal". Canada.com. CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. (via the Montreal Gazette). 25 April 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Macdonell, Rod (31 May 1998). "Local food exec indicted in Texas". Montreal Gazette (Sunday Final ed.). 
  26. ^ Hays, Kristen (9 September 2005). "Former Prisons Chief, Vitapro Exec Acquitted". Associted Press. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  27. ^ Simcoe, Luke (June 25,2014). "Canadian businessman sues Wikipedia editors for defamation". Metronews. 
  28. ^ "Lelanea Anne Barry (obituary)". Montreal Gazette. 12 January 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 

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