Judge gives initial approval to settlement of AT&T suit

Hundreds of Missouri cities, as well as St. Louis County, may each receive a slice of $65 million in settlement money from AT&T before the year ends.

A St. Louis circuit judge gave preliminary approval last week to a settlement of a lawsuit more than 300 cities and St. Louis County filed against the phone company in 2004 regarding unpaid telephone gross receipt taxes. By excluding certain items, AT&T underpaid municipalities and the county on that tax, the suit alleged.

A final hearing on the case is scheduled Nov. 2. If the court gives final approval, individual cities would receive settlement checks in December. They can either accept the settlement money or opt out.

St. Louis County, the only county in Missouri to levy a telephone gross receipt tax, reached a separate, final settlement with AT&T for $4.6 million.

Local cities listed in the settlement would receive the following amounts:

• Crestwood: $226,052.95.

• Green Park: $64,394.11.

• Sunset Hills: $291,487.11.