SC Johnson awarded $147 million in trucking kickback case

| 2/28/2008

SC Johnson, the Wisconsin company that makes Glade and Ziploc brand products, has been awarded $147 million in damages in a bribery and trucking kickback scheme.

Forbes reported that the case involved the company’s former transportation director, Milton Morris; his assistant Katherine Scheller; trucking company owner Thomas Buske; and Tom Russell of Racine and his company, JMP Intermodal Inc.

Prosecutors said carriers paid Morris hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes to steer SC Johnson business their way. Morris was also accused of inflating rates across the board to cover up the bribes from a few carriers, thus costing SC Johnson even more money.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, but the jury found that the defendants violated the state’s Organized Crime Control Act.

In related news, SC Johnson is one of nine consumer products makers –including Proctor & Gamble Co., Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and Sara Lee Corp. – suspected of price fixing in France. The Associated Press, citing a Wednesday, Feb. 28, report from French newspaper Le Figaro, said S.C. Johnson exposed the scheme to the French Competition Council in 2005 in an effort to avoid prosecution.