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Published: Friday, 3/30/2001

Toledo, area women benefit from price-fixing settlement

A lawsuit settlement over price fixing by a national shoe company will help pay for health care for uninsured women, college classes for underprivileged women, and shelter services for homeless women and their families.

It also will help Fremont-based WSOS Community Action, a social service agency that serves Wood, Seneca, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties.

The funds - $50,000 - are part of a $34 million lawsuit settlement between Nine West Group, Inc., and the Federal Trade Commission. The settlement was reached last March after attorneys general from several states, including Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, accused the White Plains, N.Y.-based company of forcing stores to adhere to certain price guidelines, thereby artificially inflating the prices on the company's shoes. Ohio gets a $1.24 million slice of the settlement. Most will be funneled into programs that primarily serve women, because most of the customers harmed by illegal price fixing were women, said Joe Case, spokesman for Ms. Montgomery's office.

The Neighborhood Health Association of Toledo yesterday received a $10,000 check from the settlement, and the Beach House Family Shelter will receive $10,000, Mr. Case said. Also included in Ohio's share is $15,000 for continuing education and other classes at Bowling Green State University and $15,000 for WSOS Community Action in Fremont.

Last week, Ms. Montgomery was in Toledo to present a check for $230,000 - another piece of the settlement - to the president of the Ohio Council of YWCAs for distribution.

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