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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ATLANTA DIVISION

FILED IN OPEN COURT
U.S.D.C. Atlanta

MAY 06 2010

JAMES N. PATTEN, Clerk
By: AM Deputy Clerk



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,    

                  v.

KASON INDUSTRIES, INC. and
PETER A. KATZ,

                  Defendants.


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Criminal No.: 1:10-CR-188

Filed: May 6, 2010

Violation: 15 U.S.C.§ 1



CRIMINAL INFORMATION

The United States of America, through its attorneys, charges:

I.

DESCRIPTION OF THE OFFENSE

1. Beginning at least as early as December 2004 and continuing thereafter at least through December 2008, the exact dates being unknown to the United States, in the Northern District of Georgia and elsewhere, defendants, KASON INDUSTRIES, INC. (hereinafter referred to as "Defendant Kason"), and PETER A. KATZ (hereinafter referred to as "Defendant Katz"), and co-conspirators entered into and engaged in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers for the sale of commercial and institutional food service equipment component hardware, including walk-in refrigeration equipment (hereinafter referred to as "food service component hardware"), in the United States and elsewhere. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendants and co-conspirators was in unreasonable restraint of interstate and foreign trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C.§ 1).

2. The charged combination and conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement, understanding, and concert of action among the defendants and co-conspirators, the substantial terms of which were to allocate customers for the sale of food service component hardware.

II.

MEANS AND METHODS OF THE CONSPIRACY

3. For the purpose of forming and carrying out the charged combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition, the defendants and co-conspirators did those things that they combined and conspired to do, including, among other things:

  1. attended meetings and engaged in discussions by telephone, facsimile and electronic mail regarding the sale of food service component hardware;
  2. agreed during those meetings and discussions to allocate customers of food service component hardware and to create and exchange protected customer lists in order to implement and monitor this agreement;
  3. agreed during those meetings and discussions not to compete for one another's protected customers either by not submitting prices or bids to certain customers, or by submitting intentionally high prices or bids to certain customers;
  4. discussed and exchanged prices to certain customers so as not to undercut one another's prices;
  5. quoted prices and submitted bids in accordance with the agreements reached;
  6. sold food service component hardware to customers in the United States and elsewhere at collusive and noncompetitive prices pursuant to the agreements reached; and
  7. accepted payment for food service component hardware sold in the United States and elsewhere at collusive and noncompetitive prices.

III.

BACKGROUND

4. Defendant Kason and its corporate co-conspirator manufacture and distribute food service component hardware in the United States and elsewhere. Food service component hardware products include fabricated parts such as cafeteria hardware, equipment legs and casters, and fabrication supplies, and walk-in refrigeration components such as metal racks, door hinges, handles, latches and closers, and panel fasteners. Customers for food service component hardware include original equipment manufacturers and fabricators which purchase and incorporate food service component hardware into the final products they manufacture such as commercial kitchen equipment, coolers, freezers, ice-makers, ovens, and heated cabinets, and then distribute them to dealers for sale to commercial and institutional food service businesses.

IV.

DEFENDANTS AND CO-CONSPIRATORS

5. During the period covered by this Information, Defendant Katz was the president of Defendant Kason with overall responsibility for Defendant Kason's performance in the sale of food service component hardware, among other products. He was employed at Defendant Kason from January 24, 1964 to May 29, 2009.

6. Defendant Kason is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York. At all times relevant to this Information, Defendant Kason had its corporate headquarters in Newnan, Georgia, within the Northern District of Georgia. During the period covered by this Information, Defendant Kason was engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling food service component hardware to customers, i.e., original equipment manufacturers and fabricators, in the United States and elsewhere.

7. Various corporations and individuals, not made defendants in this Information, participated as co-conspirators in the offense charged herein and performed acts and made statements in the furtherance thereof.

8. Whenever in this Information reference is made to any act, deed, or transaction of any corporation, the allegation means that the corporation engaged in the act, deed, or transaction by or through its officers, directors, agents, employees, or other representatives while they were actively engaged in the management, direction, control, or transaction of its business or affairs.

V.

TRADE AND COMMERCE

9. During the period covered by this Information, Defendant Kason and its co-conspirators sold and shipped food service component hardware in a continuous and uninterrupted flow of interstate and foreign commerce to customers located in states and countries outside the place of origin of the shipments. In addition, payments for such food service component hardware traveled in interstate and foreign commerce.

10. During the period covered by this Information, the business activities of the defendants and co-conspirators in connection with the manufacture and sale of food service component hardware were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate and foreign trade and commerce.

VI.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

11. The combination and conspiracy charged in this Information was formed and carried out, in part, within the Northern District of Georgia within the five years preceding the filing of this Information.

ALL IN VIOLATION OF TITLE 15, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 1.

Dated this ___6 ___ day of ___ May______ , 2010.



_______________/s/________________
CHRISTINE A. VARNEY
Assistant Attorney General



_______________/s/________________
SCOTT D. HAMMOND
Deputy Assistant Attorney General


_______________/s/________________
MARC SIEGEL
Director of Criminal Enforcement


_______________/s/________________
SALLY QUILLIAN YATES
Acting United States Attorney
Northern District of Georgia
_______________/s/________________
NEZIDA S. DAVIS
Chief, Atlanta Field Office
Georgia Bar No. 642083


_______________/s/________________
JUSTIN M. NICHOLSON
Member of the Kentucky Bar


_______________/s/________________
JAMES J. KUROSAD
Member of the Florida Bar

Attorneys, Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
75 Spring Street, S.W.
Suite 1176
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404) 331-7100
(404) 331-7110 (fax)