Waste Disposal Company Settles Antitrust Suit for $1 Million
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The California subsidiary of the nation’s largest solid waste disposal company has agreed to pay $1 million in criminal fines to settle one of the largest criminal antitrust cases in state history.
District Attorney Ira Reiner said the company, Waste Management of California Inc., entered a plea Monday of no contest to one count of conspiracy against trade and agreed to pay the maximum fine of $1 million. Two of its officials also entered no contest pleas.
Waste Management, Western Waste Industries, Angelus-Hudson Inc. and five of their employees were charged with conspiring to eliminate competition and control prices in California’s multimillion-dollar commercial trash hauling industry.
The prosecution has resulted in $2.2 million in fines so far.
Prosecutors said the companies agreed not to take away each other’s customers and used below-cost sales ″blitzes″ to lure away customers from businesses that refused to go along with the agreement to divide up the state’s trash hauling industry.
Codefendant Western Waste pleaded no contest on Feb. 3 and agreed to pay a $900,000 fine in the case as well as a $100,000 fine for an unrelated toxic waste violation. Western Waste sales manager Ishkan ″Ara″ Grodian, 44, earlier agreed to a 45-day sentence in return for a no contest plea.
Municipal Court Judge Richard A. Paez accepted pleas from Waste Management officials Wiley A. Scott Jr., 33, and Clifford R. Chamblee, 65. Scott faces a possible maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and Chamblee faces a possible maximum of 250 hours of community service.
Another defendant, John Marderosian, 56, pleaded no contest and faced a possible maximum of 60 days in jail. Marderosian’s former employer, System Disposal Service Inc., a Los Angeles subsidiary of a Canadian firm, paid $236,500 in civil penalties and costs in 1987 to settle its liability in the case.
Charges against George Osepian, 70, a vice president of Western Waste, are to be dismissed Friday ″in the interest of justice,″ according to a statement by Reiner’s office.
Angelus-Hudson, the smallest trash hauling firm charged, pleaded no contest on Feb. 27 and agreed to pay a fine of $75,000.
Waste Management of California is a branch of Waste Management Inc. of Oak Brook, Ill.