SPRINGFIELD, Ill. --- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has told 18 gas station operators that unless they donate $1,000 to the Red Cross, they will face a state lawsuit alleging price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Madigan's office informed the accused gas station operators in letters mailed out earlier this month. Like several other states, Illinois launched a probe into possible price gouging when gas prices spiked dramatically after Hurricane Katrina struck. The 18 gas stations are accused of violating the state Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The deal offered to the 18 stations has sparked criticism from the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association as well as Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz, Madigan's Republican rival, the Sun Times reported. The letters gave a Jan. 5 deadline for the station operators to accept the offer and donate to the Red Cross.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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