Arctic Glacier, which is under investigation by federal authorities for its alleged role in a market allocation conspiracy in the packaged ice industry, announced today that it is suspending two executives as a result of an internal investigation.
Arctic Glacier's press release states:
Winnipeg, March 30, 2009 – Arctic Glacier Income Fund (TSX:AG.UN) today announced that, effective immediately, Frank Larson, Executive Vice President, Operations and Gary Cooley, Vice President, Sales and Marketing of the Fund's operating subsidiary, Arctic Glacier Inc., have been suspended from their duties with pay at the direction of the Company's Board of Directors.
The Board has been conducting an internal investigation that was precipitated by the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ"). Based on this internal investigation, the Board believes Mr. Larson and Mr. Cooley may have violatedcertain of the company's policies. The Board may take further action regarding Mr. Larson and Mr. Cooley prior to or following the conclusion of the internal investigation.
The Antitrust Division of the DOJ and the attorneys general of Florida and 18 other states are conducting ongoing investigations of possible antitrust violations in the U.S. packaged ice industry. Arctic Glacier continues to cooperate with the authorities, as it has since it first learned of these investigations."Arctic Glacier will continue to provide our clients with first-class product quality and industry-leading customer service," said Keith McMahon, President and CEO of Arctic Glacier. "A team of senior executives will assume the duties and responsibilities of Mr. Larson and Mr. Cooley on an interim basis under my supervision and operations will proceed normally."
Alleged co-conspirator, Reddy Ice, previously suspended a sales executive, Ben Key, after its own internal investigation found that he "likely violated company policies and is associated with matters that are under investigation."
Consolidated class action lawsuits against Arctic, Reddy Ice, and Home City Ice are pending in federal court in Detroit. The court is expected to appoint lead class counsel shortly. Also pending in the same court is a lawsuit that Kotchen & Low LLP filed on behalf of a former packaged ice sales executive who assisted the government's investigation, and who was allegedly fired by Arctic Glacier and blacklisted from employment by the ice companies.