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Watery Gas Lawsuit Filed Against Owners of Citgo Station in Mount Greenwood

By Howard Ludwig | January 22, 2016 2:02pm | Updated on January 25, 2016 8:23am
 The Citgo gas station in Mount Greenwood was hit with a lawsuit this week stemming from a Dec. 30 incident in which water was found in its gasoline.
The Citgo gas station in Mount Greenwood was hit with a lawsuit this week stemming from a Dec. 30 incident in which water was found in its gasoline.
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — A lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the Citgo gas station in Mount Greenwood where water was found in the gasoline late last month.

The suit was brought against the owners of the station at 3700 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood, which had its six pumps shut down Dec. 30 after gasoline contaminated with water was found by the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) issued a statement after findings were revealed, saying city inspectors believed the station's underground fuel tanks were contaminated with more than 4 inches of water.

The next day, city inspectors found the Shell station at 9955 S. Western Ave. in Beverly had water in its standard-grade gas. Eight pumps were flagged at the Shell, and the station was only allowed to sell premium gas for a short time.

Stations caught dispensing bad gas are fined $50-$2,000 on each pump found with the tainted product. The businesses also must be reinspected before it can reopen, O'Shea said.

"If your vehicle was damaged as a result of watered-down gas from one of these stations, please contact those stations immediately to seek restitution. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory solution with the stations, [the city] advises residents to file a case in small claims court," O'Shea stated in a Dec. 31 email blast to constituents.

The suit against the Citgo station was filed on behalf of Michael Modzelewski of Chicago. His attorney, Karl Leinberger, did not return a phone call or email requesting comment.

The defendants are listed as the owners of the station — OGDC Inc. and Park State Oil Inc. A message for management left with the station clerk was not returned.

The lawsuit claims Modzelewski bought $25 in gasoline at the station on Dec. 29 for his 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck. He drove the truck about a mile before it stopped running, the suit says.

Modzelewski's truck was towed to Perfect Pitch Auto Repair in Mount Greenwood where a mechanic determined the next day that the problems were caused by bad gas, according to the suit.

The combined cost of the tow and repair was more than $550, the suit says. It goes on to claim others who experienced similar problems related to the bad gas at Citgo would likely face repair bills ranging from $400-$1,000 per vehicle.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, and wants to classify the group affected by the tainted gasoline as anyone who filled up at the Citgo station between Nov. 1-Dec. 31. The suit estimates as many as 75 people could come forward.

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