Fla. port authorities beneficiaries of settlement‏

Nick Rees Feb. 26, 2010, 8:30pm

Bill McCollum (R)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Several public port authorities
in Florida will be the beneficiaries of a settlement with a marine
product manufacturer, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has

The port authorities will receive a total of $707,000 from the
settlement with Virginia Harbor Services Inc. and its predecessor,
Trelleborg Engineered Products Inc. The settlement resolves
allegations that the companies conspired in allocating business,
rigging bids and fixing prices of marine equipment.

The conduct of the companies is alleged to have caused Florida ports
and government entities to pay excessive prices for marine equipment.

The lawsuit alleges that foam-filled marine fenders and buoys sold by
Trelleborg in Florida had prices that were unlawfully inflated by
collusion, bidding and price-fixing. The investigation and settlement
into Trelleborg's practices stems from a whistleblower complaint
alleging conduct that violated the Florida False Claims Act.

Guilty pleas to various federal criminal charges as a result of
anticompetitive pricing conduct have been entered from Virginia Harbor
Services Inc. and Trelleborg Engineered Products Inc as well as
numerous former executive officers.

Miami-Dade County will receive $527,000 as a result of the settlement
with the Port of Palm beach receiving $113,000. The Tampa Port
Authority will receive $52,000 and the city of Key west will receive

Additionally, under terms of the settlement, Virginia Harbor Services
Inc. is prohibited from entering into or performing any agreement with
its competitors to fix prices or rig bids on marine products in
Florida. The company is also required to implement and maintain an
antitrust compliance program.

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