- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - About 850 public entities in Ohio will get a share of the state’s $11.5 million settlement with rock salt producers accused of conspiring to drive up prices, Attorney General Mike DeWine said Thursday.

The state Department of Transportation gets $1.7 million from the settlement as Ohio’s largest single rock salt buyer. About $6.8 million was available for local governments, with some getting only a few hundred dollars and others getting tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the money also goes to the Ohio Turnpike Commission and Ohio’s antitrust fund, DeWine said.

The settlement ends a lawsuit in which the state alleged that Chicago-based Morton Salt Inc. and Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc. agreed not to compete with each other to inflate prices on rock salt used to de-ice roads and bridges. Both companies denied wrongdoing.

All 848 public entities that made eligible claims are getting a check, DeWine’s office said. Among the local governments, Cleveland gets the biggest disbursement of about $250,000, followed by lesser amounts for Toledo, Cincinnati, Akron, Columbus and Youngstown. More than a dozen universities and colleges also are getting payments.

“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 said in a statement.

He said the payments were calculated based on how much rock salt an entity bought from Cargill or Morton during the applicable timeframe, from 2008 to 2010.

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Online:

Ohio attorney general’s list of entities receiving salt settlement claim checks: http://bit.ly/1Gl4K6r

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