INDEPENDENCE — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently announced that his office is sending checks to 850 Ohio public entities as part of the Attorney General’s $11.5 million settlement to resolve an antitrust lawsuit against Cargill Inc. and Morton Salt Inc. over past rock salt prices.
Entities in 87 Ohio counties are receiving settlement funds. The city of Huber Heights will receive an $18,282 settlement.
‘It allows us to have some money back for an already extremely large expense of salt,” Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer told the Courier. “It also allows us to be a little bit better prepared for the upcoming season and just provides $18,000 worth of relief to the 2015 budget in already overcharged product.
“I’m glad that it was able to be sorted out and hopefully, the entire process maintains some balance in future costing of salt and allows communities and the tax payers to not be overly burdened on a needed product. Certainly, we don’t mind paying the cost. Hopefully, this in the future prevents some inequalities that have been shown in the past and provides some good balance on the pricing of it in the future.”
Attorney General DeWine’s settlement with Cargill and Morton Salt resolved a 2012 lawsuit accusing the companies of dividing up the Ohio rock salt market and agreeing not to compete with each other for public bids during a period ending in 2010.
Although Morton and Cargill admitted no wrongdoing, they agreed to pay $11.5 million to resolve the state’s case, just before a jury trial was set to begin.
Over the summer, the Attorney General’s Office encouraged Ohio public entities to submit a claim for a share of the settlement based on the total amount of rock salt they purchased from Cargill and/or Morton between 2008 and 2010, the timeframe for which the state could seek recovery in the case.
The office received eligible claims from 848 Ohio public entities, each of which is receiving a check. Distribution amounts were calculated at a percentage of an entity’s total eligible rock salt purchase. To ensure that no entity received a check for just a few dollars, entities were guaranteed at least a minimum distribution of $500, except for one entity whose total purchase was just $319.