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Money from lawsuit settlement helps feed hungry

BOARDMAN — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost came to Boardman on Thursday to give a $22,000 check to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley as Mahoning County’s share of a settlement the attorney general’s office reached with Dollar General.

Dollar General, a Tennessee-based discount retail chain with more than 980 stores throughout Ohio, displayed prices on its shelves for certain items but charged higher prices at its registers, and failed to correct prices at the point-of-sale to the lower-shelf price, Yost’s office stated in a news release.

“Most people don’t shop at Dollar General because they have a lot of extra money to spend,” Yost said recently at a meeting of Ohio county auditors. “So when a bottle of shampoo that should cost $1 costs $2 at the checkout, that’s a real thing. And you all brought it to light.”

County auditors play a role in price verification at retail businesses, as they conduct inspections to make sure products are ringing up at the correct price, the release states. The Dollar General case originated in Butler County — where error rates were found to be as high as 88% — and many other auditors uncovered similar errors upon inspecting Dollar General stores in their respective counties.

Mike Iberis, Second Harvest executive director, said Second Harvest will share the funds equally with its 41 food pantries and feeding sites in Mahoning County.

Yost said the bulk of the $1 million settlement would go to food banks or other hunger-related organizations in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

“In every county there is at least one Dollar General, and there will be a $1,000 minimum check for that first store — so every county gets at least $1,000,” Yost said. “The remainder of the $750,000 is going to be divided up and distributed based on how many stores you have in your county.”

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