Conn. AG settles antitrust case

Bryan Cohen Apr. 15, 2011, 2:00am


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jespen announced on Thursday the settlement of an antitrust and unfair practices lawsuit against the former owner of two waste disposal companies.

James E. Galante, the former owner of Automated Waste Disposal Inc. and Thomas Refuse Services Inc., agreed to pay the state $600,000 under terms of the settlement. The payment will be distributed to approximately 500 commercial customers of Galante's former companies.

The State sued Galante in 2009 for alleged violations of the Connecticut Antitrust Act and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The suit alleged that in 2002 and 2004, Galante ordered his employees at Thomas and AWD to raise prices by 10 percent for certain commercial customers and to falsely represent that the increases were mandatory disposal site increases. The lawsuit also alleged two incidents of bid-rigging by another Galante-owned company, American Disposal Services.

The settlement was timed to the federal government's sale of all companies forfeited by Galante as part of a 2008 guilty plea to federal racketeering conspiracy, wire-fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

"I am pleased that this settlement will help to compensate customers injured by Galante's illegal schemes," Jepsen said. "This case demonstrates clearly the benefits of federal/state coordination to protect the people of Connecticut. I hope to continue our close cooperation in other cases."

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