A nationwide antitrust suit against the distributors of the George Foreman Grill is spreading a lot of wealth among chronically under-funded charities in all 50 states.
Salton Inc. agreed to pay $8 million to settle charges that it coerced retailers into charging artifically high prices for the grill and pressured them to remove competitors' grills from their shelves.
Because it would be too hard to identify individual consumers, the settlement agreement asks states to distribute the money to charities or government agencies to improve health care and nutrition.
In Covington, La., the Covington Food Bank got a check for $10,000. "This is a historic moment," said Deacon Joe Lazo, director of the Food Bank, which provides food and medical and dental care to the needy of St. Tammany and Washington parishes. "We will use this money for our medical and dental center; we'll practice good stewardship."
In Salt Lake City, Utah Dietetic Association will get $62,000 from the settlement. It will use the money for nine public health projects that offer nutrition and weight control training to students, senior citizens, Hispanic and Native American groups and patients with Cystic Fibrosis.
In Kansas City, Kansas, a shelter for pregnant teens will receive a $15,114 grant from the settlement. "We are ecstatic about accepting these funds on behalf of the young teen mothers we serve in the entire state of Kansas," said Wanda Bibbs, co-executive director of the Grace Center. She said the center receives referrals from the entire state for young women who are pregnant and in need of shelter, counseling, nutrition, nutrition education, food and clothing.
Salton may soon be on the soup lines itself. Its lenders recently agreed to wait until September 30 to exercise any remedies relating to Salton's failure to comply with lending agreements.
The distributor of the George Foreman grill and Westinghouse home appliances said that the amended forbearance agreement is conditional on Salton receiving additional funding by July 12. Salton's wider-than-expected third-quarter loss put it out of compliance with senior credit agreements. The company lost $58 million in the quarter ended March 27.