Portsmouth to receive money from salt settlement

By Frank Lewis

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The city of Portsmouth will receive $9,930.47 as part of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s $11.5 Million settlement to resolve an antitrust lawsuit against Cargill Inc. and Morton Salt Inc. over past rock salt prices.

In all, DeWine will be sending checks to 850 Ohio public entities in 87 Ohio counties.

Other entities in Scioto County include Porter Township which will receive $1,132.44; the Scioto County Engineer which will receive $7,617.49; $500 for Valley Township and $534.40 to go to the village of New Boston.

“When I announced this settlement in June, I indicated my intention to return a significant portion of the money to local agencies and governments that buy rock salt,” DeWine said. “We know these agencies stretch public funds and taxpayer dollars as far as possible, and we hope this money will help them make roads safer for the citizens who depend on them.”

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.

Of the total settlement, about $6.8 million was available to local governments. Additional payments were allotted to the state’s largest single rock salt purchaser — the Ohio Department of Transportation ($1.7 million), the Ohio Turnpike Commission ($174,435), and, as required by law, the state’s antitrust fund.

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.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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