Domestic Violence, Breast Cancer Awareness Groups Among Recipients Of Anti-trust Settlement Funds

State Attorney General Spitzer today announced that nearly $2 million in court-approved funds from a price-fixing settlement with Nine West, Inc. will be distributed to organizations specializing in women's health, safety and economic programs across the state.

Spitzer, along with the Attorneys General from Florida, Ohio and Texas, led negotiations that resulted in a $34 million nationwide settlement with Nine West in March, 2000. New York's share of the settlement was just under $2 million. In papers submitted in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, the states charged that Nine West entered illegal agreements with stores to fix the retail price of women's shoes between January of 1988 and July of 1999.

Nine West - which manufacturers shoes under the Evan Picone, Pappagallo, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, Bandolino, Calico and Nine West brand names - is estimated to have cost female consumers millions of dollars by prohibiting retailers from discounting the prices of these shoes. As part of the settlement agreement, Nine West admitted no wrongdoing or liability; however, Nine West has agreed to refrain from business practices designed to control the price set by retailers that sell its shoes for the next five years.

"As we continue to observe October as Domestic Violence Prevention and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm pleased that a wide variety of critical programs that benefit women, including battered women's services, breast and ovarian cancer screening, and preventive health programs such as mammography testing, will receive funds from our settlement with Nine West," Spitzer said. "The case against Nine West was an example of how consumers were harmed when a business engaged in unscrupulous and illegal activity to fix prices."

The court approved a cy pres settlement - - a long standing practice that allows consumer restitution funds to be distributed to organizations serving the injured consumer class rather than individual consumers - - because the court concluded it would have been extremely difficult to identify a meaningful number of individual shoe purchasers who were economically injured by Nine West's conspiracy. The court approved this specific distribution in December, 2000.

The Office of the Attorney General evaluated proposals from non-profit and/or charitable organizations, as well as state agencies, that demonstrate a commitment to women's health and safety and/or economic opportunity for women. To date, $1.6 million has been distributed to the following organizations and programs:

OrganizationPurposeGrant Amount
Sanctuary for Families
P.O. Box 1406- Wall St. Station
New York, NY 10268
women's safety$200,000
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
784 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12203
seventy-five rape crisis centers$275,000
Dress for Success New York
130 West 30th Street, Suite 501
New York, NY 10001
economic opportunity$150,000
Cancer Care
275 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
YWCA of the USA
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 301
New York, NY 10118
twenty-two locations for health and fitness programs$325,000
American Heart Association
100 Northern Concourse
P.O. Box 3049
Syracuse, NY 13220
healthcare and fitness$300,000
Roswell Park Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Resource Center
Elm & Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263
public education and survivor programs$50,000

The distribution of funds and the settlement agreement is being handled in the Attorney General's Office by Mindy Bockstein, Director of Policy Research and the Crime Victims'Advocate, and Assistant Attorneys General Linda Gargiulo and Gary Weinstein of the AG's Antitrust Bureau, which is under the direction of Bureau Chief Jay Himes.