Bryan Cohen Jan. 17, 2014, 2:28pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced settlements on Wednesday with three Southbury companies that allegedly engaged in illegal boycott and bid-rigging practices related to snow removal services.

H.I. Stone & Son Inc., S&S Asphalt Paving Inc. and Stone Construction Company Inc., and their respective principals, Harry Stone, Kevin Starchak and George Stone, Jr., allegedly colluded and refused to deal with the town of Southbury's bidding process with a nor'easter approaching in October 2011. The companies and their principals allegedly refused to plow unless they were given a guaranteed minimum contract for a larger portion of the winter season.

Later in the winter, the defendants allegedly colluded and entered into a conspiracy with one another meant to eliminate competition and substantially raise prices for their snowplowing services.

"Connecticut taxpayers are not only entitled to but deserve the benefits of a free and open market," Jepsen said. "When companies conspire together to create group boycotts and bid-rigging schemes, they illegally eliminate competition and raise prices for consumers. These settlements will provide relief to the town of Southbury through lower rates for snowplowing services, while at the same time ensuring that illegal business activities such as these will not be tolerated."

Under the terms of a proposed settlement, the three companies would pay $30,000 each to the state in civil penalties and provide the town of Southbury with snow removal services at the original rate prior to the alleged collusion and conspiracy for the next three years. The three companies also agreed to adopt an antitrust compliance program to ensure they do not violate antitrust laws in the future.

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