In a subsequent email, the Marathon vice president told a colleague to “brace yourself,” adding that Gary Heminger, the company’s then-president and now CEO of Marathon Petroleum, wanted to “take the full move.”
The 2005 emails are among confidential records obtained by WDRB News in Kentucky’s decade-old lawsuit against the company, now known as Marathon Petroleum Corp., which is the “dominant” supplier of wholesale gasoline to Kentucky service stations.
The case centers on Kentucky’s allegation that Marathon, which also owns the Speedway gas station chain, illegally increased gas prices in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and again in 2011, when the state had a major flood.
In 2015, five months before his unsuccessful bid for governor, then-Attorney General Jack Conway sued the company for anti-trust violations, alleging Marathon exploits a monopoly on the cleaner-burning reformulated gas, or RFG, required to be sold in Louisville and northern Kentucky.
The 2005 emails among top Marathon executives show the company was aware of price-gouging laws, “took large price increases anyway,” and then “tried to deflect public anger” over surging gas prices, Beshear’s lawyers told Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate in a confidential filing in June.