12:33pm

Mon May 16, 2011
Statehouse News

Price Gouging Hearing to Continue

Nothing was resolved at a Frankfort hearing in Kentucky's price gouging case against Marathon Oil.  Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate is in the middle of a murder trial, and rescheduled the Marathon case for Thursday morning.

Attorney General Jack Conway says Marathon has illegally been jacking up gasoline prices during a state of emergency.

"The governor issued his emergency order on April 26th which put in place Kentucky's price gouging law, which says that you can't gouge on building supplies, you can't gouge on hotel rooms and you can't gouge on gas prices," said Conway.

But Attorney Sheryl Snyder, who represents Marathon, says the case appears to have more to do with price control than price gouging.

"They're not even alleging that their claim for relief has anything to do with the flooding, or anything to do with the emergency," said Snyder. "They've predicated their claim totally upon the argument that we're following the spot market."

The two sides met in Franklin Circuit Court, but due to judicial and expert witness scheduling conflicts, nothing was resolved. Another hearing is set for Thursday morning.

POLITICAL THEATRE?

Snyder, who represents Marathon, says even though Conway has no primary opposition for re-election, this case is all about politics.

"It's common knowledge that one without opposition gets on the news on election day, particularly if you can create political theatre, which Jack has done," said Snyder.

Attrorney General Conway responds.

"If doing my job as attorney general and standing up for the consumers of Kentucky when they may be paying too much at the pump is political, call me that every day of the week, and twice on Sunday," said Conway.