ABOUT TOWN: Where's the Gas? A Shell Game Exposed in Stoughton
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WHERE'S THE GAS? - A SHELL GAME EXPOSED: The About Town email box and Facebook private message file have been clogged with requests from readers to try to find out just what is going on at local Shell Service Stations.
For instance, the one located near me on Central Street, almost at the Avon line/Route 24, hasn't sold gas in a couple of months. When I ask the clerk there, what's going on, he groans, "soon." They still sell soda and newspapers, and do car repairs there. There's a similar situation at the Shell in Cobb's Corner, at the Stoughton/Sharon/Canton line.
So, I tried to reach official spokespeople, and they were all tied up making excuses for the lack of deliveries to New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
So, I called Marvin Odum, the President of Shell Oil directly. After a few messages were left, I did hear from someone in "The Office of the President." They sent me an email telling me they were doing the best they could to get supplies to New Jersey and New York. Then, someone from that office kindly followed up, and I explained that I was calling from the South of Boston, and wanted information specifically about Stoughton. (Snyder's New York just doesn't have the same kind of ring to it, does it?)
Eventually, he called me back and explained the situation. Via email, David, the man from the Office of the President, wrote, "Pursuant to your original call and inquiry as to why there are no Shell retail stations with available fuel stock, in the Boston-Stoughton area, the wholesaler contracted to this dealership is making a legal attempt to take possession of numerous stations from an indebted proprietor. The court system delays and litigation procedures are contributing to the untimely outage of fuel at these sites."
In other words, the owner of all these gas stations went belly up, and he owes his gas supplier a ton of money. So, the supplier is trying to get ownership of all these stations, in lieu of the money.
Meanwhile, customers continue to pull up to gas, and figure out there is none. Are they mad at the bankrupt owner? No. They're peeved at Shell Oil, whose name is on the big sign.
The owner of many of these gas stations is Ghazi Saab, a native of Lebanon, who resides in Sharon. He purchased his first gas station at age 25, and has built a large stable of stations. Calls to his home resulted in a recording which said, "The caller at this number is no longer taking calls at this time."
The wholesaler who is owed all the money is Colbea Enterprises LLC of Rhode Island. A half dozen calls made to Operations Officer Tom Cosgrove on Tuesday and Wednesday seeking comment were not returned.
So, it appears the Shell game will go on. No gas for you!