EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with statements from two of the companies involved in the settlement.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia’s Governor and Attorney General announced Friday a $101.3 million settlement in an antitrust case involving 11 paving companies. The settlement is the largest, single state antitrust settlement in state history.
The settlement involves West Virginia Paving Inc., Kelly Paving Inc, American Asphalt & Aggregate and eight other related companies which were accused of monopolizing the state’s asphalt and paving market. The state alleged that monopoly reduced competition for state awarded contracts in order to maximize the companies’ profits at taxpayer expense.
“This achievement means many more roads will be paved,” said Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. “Our settlement will go a long way to restore competition and recoup road funds to the benefit of every taxpayer who pays for and drives West Virginia’s roads.”
The agreement includes $101.3 million dollars in cash and credit and also includes non-monetary terms to restore competition.
“This settlement,” said Governor Jim Justice “not only means another $100 million that we’ll be able to invest in continuing to repair and maintain our roads all across West Virginia, but it also means that you, the taxpayers, are getting what you paid for.”
The lawsuits were first filed in January 2017 alleging acquisitions or non-compete agreements were used to unlawfully eliminate competitors and push up the price of asphalt in areas controlled by West Virginia Paving, its parent company CRH plc and the other defendants.
The settlement requires an upfront payment of $30.35 million dollars to the state as well as Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg and Kanawha County. Another $71 million in credits will be applied to already completed but not yet paid for projects now and for the next seven years.
In a statement to 13 News, West Virginia Paving, Inc said “WVP is of the firm view that it has always acted lawfully and has not been found to have been in breach of any West Virginia Laws.” Adding, “This agreed settlement allows both parties to move ahead, avoids the uncertainty of a protracted legal process and allows WVP to continue servicing its customers.”
A statement from Kelly Paving, Inc., “…denies all allegations of wrongdoing and vigorously contested the Attorney General and local governments’ baseless claims.”
“Kelly Paving reluctantly paid this modest amount ($1.75 million) to settle the claim against it because the expense of defending the litigation had become too burdensome,” the statement continues. “Ultimately, Kelly Paving chose to settle the case so that it could continue to be among the most efficient, most respected and most trusted asphalt contractors in the State of West Virginia.”