Consumer Giant Makes More Bribery Claims

MILWAUKEE (CN) – S.C. Johnson & Son, a Wisconsin household product empire, claims it has found more participants in a bribery ring, whose other members were ordered to pay a $204 million judgment in 2008. In its new federal complaint, Johnson & Son claims that its longtime director of transportation embezzled millions of dollars by taking bribes from trucking companies that were paid inflated rates.

     Johnson & Son makes a slew of well-known products, including Pledge, Glade, Off!, Raid, Windex, and Ziploc bags, according to its website. It sued three trucking companies and a company owner in its most recent suit.
     Johnson claims that its former transportation director, Milton Morris, worked with the defendants in an “ongoing pattern of corruption and racketeering.”
     Morris is not named as a defendant in this case. He was, however, one of eight defendants in the 2008 case in Racine County that resulted in a “final judgment in the amount of $203.8 million,” according to the new complaint.
     Johnson claims that Morris abused his position to take lavish gifts, cash bribes, and rooms in presidential suites for “carrier review meetings” where little business took place. He used some of the money to pay off gambling debts and hid his indiscretions within an annual budget of $90 million, according to the complaint.
     Johnson & Son claim it caught on to Morris and fired him, but the players in the ring continue to multiply.
     In the new complaint, Johnson sued Transport Corporation of America, Stevens Transport, Far Side Trucking, and Far Side’s owner, Graham Pharr.
     Johnson claims that the defendants gave Morris cash, gifts and other bribes to get company business, and that Morris had them paid at inflated rates. Johnson claims the scheme cost the company millions of dollars.
     It seeks treble damages and punitive damages, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, violation of the Wisconsin Organized Control Act and aiding and abetting.
     S.C. Johnson & Son is represented by Sarah Huck with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren of Milwaukee, and Jeffrey Willian with Kirkland & Ellis of Chicago.

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