Thursday, August 14, 2008

F&S Oil investigated by U.S. Dept of Justice?

According to the NHRs Luther Turmelle:

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the abrupt closing in March of F&S Oil of Waterbury, sources told the New Haven Register.

DOJ representatives have been meeting for much of the summer with Carl Helming, a Wallingford accountant who was appointed by Hartford Superior Court Judge Grant Miller to act as the receiver to oversee the liquidation of the company, sources said.


The article also notes:

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has filed a civil suit against Christopher Carr, F&S’s former president, and his wife, Hilary, alleging the former F&S executive illegally sold prepaid contracts and fraudulently transferred the title of his home to his wife to prevent it from being taken from the couple if he were sued.

Obviously, this situation is pretty bad. And particularly with the heating season fast approaching, I think the liquidation of F&S Oil's assets should be completed expeditiously... so The Little Guy can get repaid for his 07/08 prepayments. But I also want to point out that the owners of F&S were in the midst of doing something extremely worthwhile... attempting to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

Tim White

12 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This past unhappy customer is delighted to see the Feds investigating possible criminal behavior of this group of failed companies. My experiences with these firms included documenting how my timely payments to them were lost by them even though my checks were cashed by some employee. Then after months of complaining my payments began to appear and move around on their accounting system never making it to the right place! If I hadn’t complained about it I suspect the cashed checks would have been, well, my lost money, at best.

As for the bio-fuel facility, has there been a verified test of its ability to produce yet? If not it is not certain that it can even make a single gallon of bio-fuel at this point. It was being built and it was being spun in the press as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Personally, I am concerned that a facility like this one might just put fuel oil in and drain fuel oil out, proclaim that since it passed through the piping and came out the bio-fuel plant output pipe it was therefore bio-fuel. Entilted to any tax breaks such a facility is allowed. Then, since those perceiving themselves as ‘green’ signed up and agreed to pay a premium to save us all from the non-green life style you just put the oil from the plant’s output pipe into your ‘green’ delivery truck and deliver it to your ‘proclaimed green’ customers at a premium price.

I hope this couldn’t happen but just who at the local, state and federal level is out there inspecting the output of bio-fuel plants anyway? Who certifies that what is advertised is what is delivered? There have been a number of small studies on the quality of bio-fuel and there are cases of people not getting what they paid for. And I’d bet most bio-fuel facilities are planning for this new fuel to always sell at a price which is much greater then regular diesel.

Anonymous said...
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Tim White said...

comment 1 partial deletion

The state gave a $200,000 low interest loan to F & S to help them get the biodiesel plant off the ground. Now that they are out of business, does this mean they have defaulted on the note?

deleted

Tim White said...

there been a verified test of its ability to produce yet?

you raise some very good points about biodiesel.

my understanding is that the regulatory environment is still in its infancy. Of particular note (as I understand) is the lack of standards on "blending" B100 with petrodiesel to make B20, B50, etc.

I understand the rules are still being created.

Tim White said...

comment 3

(deleted portion)

Let's see what the Feds find.

Tim White said...

comment 4 edited

The whole business stinks. Why in the world would F&S lease the land for the Biomess from Cheshire Investment, (deleted), at $9,000 a month? Seems like they could have easily bought a piece of property cheaper.

(deleted)

Why did F&S install storage tanks without going to P&Z and getting approval? I guess some people don't have to do those kinds of things.

Why does Cheshire Investment apply to P&Z, after F&S goes bust, to install storage tanks that have already been installed without a permit and even though they say the only own the land. This makes no sense at all.

Why does FF Hitchcock do thousands of dollars of work at the Biomess when there is no building permit. (deleted)

(deleted)

(deleted) This has gone on for months and they still haven't. Maybe if you lie on an affidavit, it most likely is perjury.

Why did F&S ask customers to buy 2008 prepaid contracts just before they went bust and months before they would normally do it. Anyone who was contacted early should bring this to the attention of investigators.

Will we ever find out the truth about all the people that are at fault?

Why doesn't the Town Council ask for answers? Did the Town of Cheshire lose any money? Let's have someone in our town government tell us the taxpayers didn't lose any money.

Will the taxpayers get back the money they loaned. Not that many people care about the customers or the taxpayers.

Hopefully the Feds will get us the answers. It's harder to apply political pressure on Federal Investigators.

And last of all, we should be thankful that we have people of such good character, Carl Helming as the receiver. He has not had an easy time.

Tim White said...

To the commenters here... if you sign your name and phone number, fine. But if you're just gonna make these comments anonymously, they're getting deleted.

Anonymous said...

What happened, Tim? Did you get a call from the Bowman's attorney threatening legal action becuase their name was mentioned in your blog?

Anonymous said...

On the one hand it is good to hear from one of our elected representatives that the frame work for oversight of bio-fuels is being put together now. On the other it is disheartening to read articles describing how random samples of bio-fuel collected and analyzed in New England were not what they were advertised to be. (see for instance in NEW SCIENTIST ENVIRONMENT, “Bio Blends Not As Green As They Seem,” 8Mar08)

It seems especially significant relative to what was going on in our town. F&S and its family of companies and business partners were either the dumbest of the dumb or maybe as a business entity they were just a collection of crooks. At this point it seems it has to be one or the other unless some really compelling additional information surfaces.

If Cheshire becomes home to a chemical processing plant which is supposed to make bio-fuels for sale to local residents the residents need to be protected. Our town council and town government must enact rules and regulations which guarantee that residents buying the stuff actually receive what was implied and advertised by the seller. This would be of course in addition to making any facility comply with the simple basic town requirement for the necessary permits. I understand that even that really didn’t happen in a timely fashion either.

Should the state or federal government ever step up and actually perform this service then of course there is no need for the town to get involved. Until that time, before another group of, well shall I call them businessmen, show up with a story about bio-fuel our local government needs to do more to protect us from business practices which seem so out of touch that now eve4n the DOJ is also investigating.

tim white said...

Did you get a call from the Bowman's attorney threatening legal action becuase their name was mentioned in your blog?

No. But there was a lot of insinuation in the comments that I deleted. And as I wrote:

To the commenters here... if you sign your name and phone number, fine. But if you're just gonna make these comments anonymously, they're getting deleted.

Feel free to comment, but under your own name and number.

IMO, commenting on the official actions of elected & appointed officials is different from commenting on the private actions of residents.