State to recoup $45 million in tobacco settlement money

State gets $45 million in tobacco money

The state will recoup about $45 million from tobacco companies after the Maryland Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal by the tobacco industry that accused Maryland officials of not aggressively enforcing tobacco laws, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Tuesday.

The tobacco industry had tried to withhold money from several states it was ordered to pay restitution as part of the $206 billion 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

In Maryland, state officials were accused of not enforcing a requirement that certain small tobacco companies place money in an escrow account before they were allowed to sell cigarettes. The Court of Special Appeals ruled last fall that an arbitration panel erred in withholding some of the money Maryland should have received as part of its annual settlement payments

The original settlement awarded Maryland about $4.2 billion over 25 years and so far the state has receieved about $2.3 billion.

amcdaniels@baltsun.com

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