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BP Sues City Councilman

Adam Nick, who operated an Arco gas station in Lake Forest, allegedly owes $177,000 to parent company British Petroleum.

Adam Nick, who won the November election to sit on the Lake Forest City Council, may be sitting in a courtroom if British Petroleum has its way.

The businessman has been targeted by a division of the oil giant in a lawsuit claiming $177,000 in damages for breaking a contract to operate the Arco AM/PM on Lake Forest Drive at Regency Lane, according to the Orange County Register.

BP West Coast Products alleges Nick signed a contract with Arco in 2002 to operate the business through 2013. Nick told the Register he began selling non-Arco fuel after their relationship soured following his refusal to sign a contract extension in 2009 and, in retaliation, BP stopped delivering enough fuel to keep his tanks stocked.

About $73,000 of the damages is for gasoline, royalty fees and infrastructure such as retail software and cashier equipment, and $104,000 is for ending the contract ahead of schedule in 2011.

For quotes and other information, see the story in the OC Register.

JustUs February 26, 2013 at 07:10 AM
Was any of this disclosed prior to the election? I remember something about Nick filing some legal papers on the City of Lake Forest but I don't recall hearing anything about this BP problem that apparently goes back a couple years. I hope it gets worked out amicably.
J Steele February 26, 2013 at 04:18 PM
That used to be my favorite place to fill up but the last 2 times the price advertised on the sign was .06 lower than at the pump. The first time I filled up anyway since I was there and figured it was a mistake. The second time I said goodbye, probably for good
Susan Wattles February 26, 2013 at 04:52 PM
When I went to a "meet the candidates" event I was stunned at Nick's arrogance and rudeness. He was angry about a liquor license and consequently suing the city I believe. I am not surprised at all that he is now being sued. As much as I hate BP, good luck to them!
LakeForestTruth February 26, 2013 at 05:46 PM
So did Nick disclose to his ARCO customers that the station was selling non-ARCO gasoline while still operating under the ARCO name? If I'm buying a brand, I want the real thing....not a knock-off. Disappointing for someone that is now wanting a "Sunshine" ordinance. "Good for thee, but not for me!"
JustUs February 26, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Oh, LakeForestTruth, are you saying that Nick may have been selling a different brand of gasoline under the "Arco" name without disclosure to the public? I don't know. I assumed that the other product was being openly disclosed as coming from another source when it was sold. I would like to know the answer to your question too since when I go to a gas station I want the particular brand advertised since the car seems to run better on some brands than others. And I am willing to pay a little higher price for that particular brand, than let's say, cheaper gas at a discount station. It would be nice to get more specific information so these questions aren't necessary. Good point, LFT.
Joe C. February 26, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Very good observation, @LakeForestTruth, and also @J Steele. I suppose I, as a consumer, can be expected to check the advertised price against the actual price, however shady the practice would appear - not once, but twice. But with certain products I have no way of verifying that I am actually getting what I am promised. At what point does this sort of thing stop being an oversight and turn into false advertising, deception, fraud?
Courtney February 26, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I knew something weird was going on with the gas station location. That's why I stopped going there. It just gave me a bad feeling. They took their Arco displays away but then when your credit card receipt printed it said Arco on it. They also don't have outside pay stations and every single person was having to go inside to pay. It took forever to get gas there.
Adam Nick February 26, 2013 at 10:28 PM
J Steele, Joe C: The 6 cents lower (or, at times 10 cents, lower) is CASH pricing (AS CORRECTLY ADVERTISED). First of all, if you pay cash, the price per gallon automatically gets adjusted at the pump right before dispensing even one drop of fuel (BUT NOT BEFORE DISPENSING STARTS). If you experience otherwise, call me right away, and if you are proved right, your fill-up is on the house. Fair enough? Second, gas stations that offer the same price for both CASH and CREDIT/DEBIT victimize the cash-paying customers in that they (the cash-paying customers) too end up paying a share of the bank charges. Just think about it before you think to yourself, “he is just full of it”. If someone thinks that it is the business owners whose pockets the bank charges come out of, they need a reality or sanity check… In other words, bank charges are always incorporated into the final price customers pay. So, it is really the customers who pay the bank charges. Now, ask yourself this: Is it fair for cash-paying customers to pay the same price for the same product as those who pay electrically thus incurring bank charges?! Now that I hope you know what you didn’t know before, do you think you are being fair-minded?! (Continued)
Adam Nick February 26, 2013 at 10:28 PM
(Continued from previous post) To all hereto: That said, I have spent thousands of dollars of my own money in hardware and software change so that I can be fair to everyone by uniquely offering this tier pricing, and I have done this (and many other thing such as offering the lowest fuel pricing possible since I rid myself of ARCO and ARCO’s control) for nearly two years now, and I’ve done all these in spite of the ill thrown my way by the mighty British Petroleum (ARCO’S owner)… In any case, I am not hiding… Have the courage to ask me your question and the wisdom not to assume what you certainly have not been privy to… Adam Nick 949-812-0920 adamnick1776@gmail.com
JustUs February 26, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Thank you for your comments. As noted, some of us wondered whether consumers purchased gas from your store believing that they were purchasing Arco gas when they were actually purchasing a different brand? Were there signs posted which indicated the gas sold at your store may have originated from another source? Obviously, we only know what we read in the media and these are are normal questions that would arise based on the sketchy information made available. I appreciate your feedback and may the truth prevail! Best of luck.
Dave February 27, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Really Doubt he will Answer That Directly! But I am sure you can read betwwen the lines
Adam Nick February 27, 2013 at 02:06 AM
To JustUs: At 4:17 and 4:18 I wrote and "posted" a two-segment response to your post at 3:11, however, it is still showing "pending approval". I don't know my response is not being posted... hopefully, at least this does post for the time being. Adam Nick
Adam Nick February 27, 2013 at 02:08 AM
To JustUs: Thank you for extending me the courtesy of writing me directly. Due to a fall-out that I had with BP dating back to 2009, which had a lot to do with how high they priced their fuel and how they manipulated (not just controlled) the supply line and the market, they refused to deliver me gasoline to a point that I often literally had no fuel to sell. Imagine a gasoline station with no gas!! On March 17, 2011, I had no choice but to sever ties. I covered all the citations of ARCO at the premises and purchased gasoline in the open market. Remember that there are only a handful of companies in America that refine and produce gasoline, all of which names you are already familiar with. When you purchase in the open market, you buy essentially the same gas except you cannot advertise it with its brand name (whatever the brand name may be) and you pay for it effectively at the time of your purchase. This is in contrast to brand purchasing in which case the giant oil company allows you several days (and sometimes up to two weeks) to pay for the fuel. Now, imagine that not every business owner can front tens of thousands of dollars every single day. Luckily, I could and happily and proudly kicked them out of my property on Lake Forest Drive on March 17, 2011 (That’s why for every unbranded station that there is you see almost a hundred branded ones (I am not being facetious… unbranded station make up only about 1% of the gasoline market)). (Cont...)
Adam Nick February 27, 2013 at 02:17 AM
(Continued from before) Also, out of spite and to make my life more difficult in hopes that I would renew my supply contract with them, ARCO (BP) cut off my network access for pay at the pump and they even would not provide me access to their Network so that I could take out the “ARCO AMPM” that printed by default on customers’ receipts (I later managed to change all the hardware, software, and even the dispensers offering pay-at-the-pump and rid myself of them altogether). So, everything is good now… LOL. That all said, ARCO was a great company for as long as it existed, it was an AMERICAN company, and that was whom I signed up with. British Petroleum purchased ARCO in 2003 and things went down from there... Now, they are upset because they are not having someone in me who sells himself for some hefty amount of money and in turn gouge his customers - the members of his own hometown. I did not give into them and said no to their almost half-a-million dollar sign-in bonus (read the OC Register article). I am not for sale. Period. Feel free to write me with any questions on any subject whatsoever. You may not always like where I stand but you can be certain that I will always be truthful. Again, thanks for writing me. Adam Nick 949-812-0920 PS. To make certain that I am in receipt of your inquiry, you may want to email it to me after you post it somewhere online (just in case I don’t end up seeing your post): adamnick1776@gmail.com
Adam Nick February 27, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Dave: With me, you don't need to "read between the lines". Just be both decent and intelligent enough to read the lines themselves. NO HYPERBOLE. NO INNUENDO. NO NONSENSE. I hope that's direct enough for you, Dave. Adam Nick
JustUs February 27, 2013 at 04:11 AM
I had another question or two but you went into quite a lot of detail in your thoughtful reply, so I will let it rest. I do appreciate that you would take the time to come on-line and address the questions on this comment board. You certainly didn't have to and I respect that. BP is a formidable opponent and I hope all the facts come out in your favor. Good luck.
JustUs February 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I noticed that that the gas prices are @ about $4.35 a gallon for no good reason again. No new wars. Saudi and Iraqi and Libyan and Canadian oil is flowing freely. No refinery fires. Yet prices are back up. I just don't trust the oil companies and government oversight. They raise it until people start complaining - then back off a little - then raise it higher soon thereafter after human memories fade. It's not the small time operators who are hosing us. It's the big boys.

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