MIAMI COUNTY — Communities all across Ohio will soon be receiving their portions of a recent rock salt settlement. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Thursday 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. Entities in Miami County are going to receive a total of just over $70,000. The breakdown includes:
- City of Piqua: $15,466.24
- City of Tipp City: $5,337.76
- City of Troy: $9,502.61
- Miami County Engineer: $36,540.88
- Municipality Of West Milton: $1,183.35
- Newberry Township: $505.73
- Village Of Bradford: $1,515.68
“We’re happy,” Miami County Engineer Paul P. Huelskamp said. “We appreciate the efforts by the attorney general’s office to look out for local government.”
The approximate $36,000 that the Miami County Engineer will be receiving will go back into the county’s road fund.
“We’re very happy,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said. Huff explained that the money that Piqua will be receiving will go back into the street levy fund. It can be used for anything salt- or street-related.
“We certainly appreciate the state following through with that and ensuring we’re not paying more for salt than we should be,” Huff said.
“We are obviously pleased that we were able to receive some money out of the settlement,” Patrick Titterington, director of Public Service and Safety for the city of Troy, said. “The money will go back into our general fund, which is where we fund our street department.”
“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 in a press release. “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.
Morton and Cargill admitted no wrongdoing, but they reportedly agreed to pay $11.5 million to resolve the state’s case. The settlement was made before a jury trial was about to begin.
Approximately $6.8 million was available for local governments out of the total settlement. Additional payments were allotted to the Ohio Department of Transportation ($1.7 million), the state’s largest single rock salt purchaser; 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 time frame for which the state could seek recovery in the case.
The attorney general’s office received eligible claims from 848 Ohio public entities, each of which is reportedly receiving a check. The attorney general’s office calculated the distribution amounts at a percentage of each entity’s total eligible rock salt purchase. According to attorney general’s office, entities were guaranteed at least a minimum distribution of $500 with the exception for one entity whose total purchase was $319.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall. The Piqua Daily Call’s news partner WDTN contributed to this article.