Clinton County and two of its municipalities will receive a combined $23,500 in rock salt settlement funds, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced.

Clinton County Engineer Jeff Linkous’ department as well as Blanchester and Wilmington are three of 850 public entities in Ohio that will benefit from the $11.5 million settlement with Cargill Inc. and Morton Salt Inc. that resolved an antitrust lawsuit.

The Engineer’s office will receive $19,869.18, Wilmington $2,847.23 and Blanchester $824.06.

Linkous said the money would be used to buy more salt and he is “thrilled” to receive it.

“We’re paying about $66.80 a ton for salt, so that’ll buy us about 300 tons of salt,” he said. “We’re probably going to buy about 2,700 tons, depending on the winter.”

Morton and Cargill, which admitted to no wrongdoing, resolved the case before a jury trial began. DeWine’s office accused them in 2012 of dividing Ohio’s rock salt market and agreeing not to compete in public bids from 2008 to 2010.

Linkous said that in one of those years, the engineer’s office spent more than $100 per ton of salt.

“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 prepared statement. “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.”

Of the total settlement, about $6.8 million was available to local governments. Also, $1.7 million was given to the Ohio Department of Transportation and $174,435 to the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

The media release said money was also deposited into the state’s antitrust fund, which it said was required by law.

Amounts distributed were calculated as a percentage of that entity’s rock salt purchases from 2008 to 2010.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.

Mike DeWine DeWine
Funds for county, Wilmington, Blanchester

By Nathan Kraatz

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