immediate release -- Thursday,
August 12, 1999.
Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699
N.W. Iowa School Districts Receiving $141,480 as a Result of Alleged Price-Fixing
in School Milk Sales
allegedly divided up territories illegally as a way to eliminate competition
and rig milk bids.
The Attorney General's Office said Thursday that 31 school districts in
Northwest Iowa are receiving payments totaling $141,480 from Wells Dairy
Inc. of Le Mars, Iowa, in settlement of allegations that Wells conspired
with other dairies to fix the prices of milk sold to the schools. Settlement
documents were filed today in Polk County District Court.
is making the payments to thirteen public school districts and eighteen
private schools in Lyon, Sioux, O'Brien and Osceola counties. Wells also
is paying $20,000 to the State of Iowa for enforcement of Iowa competition
year, Land O' Lakes Inc. of Arden Hills, Minnesota, made payments totaling
$43,000 to 33 Northwest Iowa school districts in the same matter.
Protection Division Director Bill Brauch said the payments are equivalent
to the estimated amount the schools paid above what they would have paid
for the milk products if there had been no illegal pricing activity. Wells
did not admit to violations but did cooperate in settling the matter.
settlement is related to an investigation initiated by Federal officials
of alleged school milk price-fixing by dairies from 1980 to 1992 in Minnesota,
South Dakota, and Northwest Iowa. Wells previously paid a penalty as a
result of the Federal action. Miller's office focused on the issue of
repayment to the schools affected in Iowa.
investigation focused on allegations that the dairies illegally rigged
school milk bids by dividing up markets, so that one dairy would win the
bid in one area, while other dairies would win the bids in other areas.