On Friday, U.S. District Judge James L. Graham accepted the company's plea agreement related to misdemeanor charges associated with product registration issues and wild bird food products. That agreement includes a fine of $4 million, with $500,000 in community service.
"While no one else in the company knew about the illegal activities of one of our associates, the company nonetheless bears the responsibility for her actions, and for that we apologize," Hagedorn said.
Separately, the company entered into a civil administrative agreement and agreed to pay a fine of $6.05 million related to some of the company's product registration records. While the company stressed that the agreement neither admits nor denies the allegations, it believes concluding the matter is in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and its associates.
"In both the civil and criminal cases we have fully cooperated with the government and have accepted responsibility for these events," Hagedorn said. "This has been a difficult time for us and we are glad to have put it behind us. I want to thank our associates who committed themselves to resolving this matter and I also want to thank both the EPA and DOJ for the professional way in which they handled it."ScottsMiracle-Gro has posted an open letter from Mr. Hagedorn on its website, www.scottsmiraclegro.com that provides additional context around both the criminal and civil matters and also addresses the company's efforts to prevent a repeat occurrence. In addition to the fines, the company also committed in the settlements to provide funding for several important environmental projects. It will provide $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon's Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and the Nature Conservancy of Ohio. Additionally, the company committed to provide at least $2 million in funds to acquire, restore, and conserve over 300 acres of land throughout Ohio in association with the Black Swamp Conservancy.*