Ohio Inspector General report accuses salt companies of unfair practices

Inflated prices might have cost the state as much as $59 million over 10 years

News Columbus Dispatch January 07, 2011
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A new report out of Ohio reveals a pair of salt companies may have cheated the state out of millions of dollars over the last decade.

According to Ohio Inspector General Thomas Charles’ findings, the two salt companies cornered the market and inflated prices. Charles concluded that the action cost Ohio as much as $59 million over the past 10 years. Cargill Deicing Technology and Morton Salt Co. were named in the report.

The report also revealed that the salt companies misled the state into thinking they were complying with the “Buy Ohio” provision. Product that was mined in Louisiana, Canada, Chile and even the Bahamas were labeled as coming from Ohio.

Charles also discovered that other states received cheaper salt from the two suppliers.

“Evidence that Cargill and Morton engaged in sham bidding is revealed in consistent bidding patterns in which the same company has continued to win its incumbent-client counties year after year despite significant increases,” the report said.

The report has been passed on to the Ohio attorney general’s office, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, the Ohio Ethics Commission, the state auditor’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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