TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 14 (UPI) -- Florida officials said they have reached a $2.3 million settlement with a major fuel supplier, the largest ever under the Sunshine State's price-gouging law.
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson said the settlement was reached with Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. and its gas storage and transportation subsidiary, TransMontaigne Product Service Inc., after the state received complaints about price hikes after Hurricane Ike in September, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday.
State officials said they also were investigating 12 additional terminal operations of Florida's major oil suppliers, which could lead to more settlements.
"We anticipate (the investigations) will bear fruit," department spokesman Terrence McElroy said. "I think the suppliers know we mean business."
Morgan Stanley said in a statement it was pleased that the matter was resolved.
In their investigation of Morgan Stanley, state investigators found the company jacked its price to distributors by $1.60 a gallon overnight, an increase that stations eventually passed along to their customers, the newspaper reported. Florida state law bars gouging on essentials when a state of emergency is declared, but merchants can raise prices if their costs of doing business increases.