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Former city fuel vendor offered $63,000 in refunds

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

Cape Coral’s former fuel vendor Streicher Mobile Fueling Inc. was prepared to offer the city a $63,000 refund due to overcharging on July 28, but the city attorney’s office rejected the offer.

The city notified Streicher on June 30 it wanted a $211,000 refund after an audit revealed the company overbilled Cape Coral based on state contract pricing. The audit looked at fiscal years 2008 – 2010.

Streicher’s attorneys responded in July with the check for $63,363.51 and a letter stating the company performed its own analysis between Oct. 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009.

The company analysis discovered that the state of Florida amended the contract’s pricing to allow “actual costs” associated with fuel procurement.

Streicher passed its own incremental increase of $0.12 cents per gallon to cover the rise in purchase costs from the state.

The increase in purchase cost from the state was only supposed to be in effect from Sept. 12, 2008, to sometime on or around Nov. 6, 2008, but the incremental charge did not cancel itself out and carried forward to the end of the contract on June 30, 2009, according to the letter from Streicher’s attorneys.

The letter also states the city’s “confusion” could be due to the contract between Streicher and the state of Florida expired June 30, 2009.

“From that point forward, Streicher was no longer pricing fuel based upon the formula agreed upon in the contract but rather on an ad hoc basis, tied to the daily fuel market. It is important that the city take this fact into consideration when reviewing any sales of fuel by Streicher to the city,” the letter states.

Streicher assumed the city would be satisfied with the check amount and should it accept it, would be considered a final settlement.

The city rejected Streicher’s offer on Aug. 10, saying it could not adequately verify the amount of $63,363.51 as being “an accurate representation of the total amount owed the city,” according to a letter from City Attorney Dolores Menendez.

The city is looking to avoid any court action against Streicher but is still looking for a sit-down with the company, having been unsuccessful thus far.

“Additionally, because the City has not pursued any civil action against Streicher, we do not consider this exchange of correspondence as compromising or settling a claim that has not been formally made,” Menendez wrote.

It’s unknown what the next step in the process might be. The city requested the documentation from Streicher pertaining to its findings, but public records requests did not yield copies of those documents.

Menendez could not be reached for comment.

The city has since moved on from Streicher Mobile Fueling as its provider, instead utilizing Naples-based Evans Oil Company, piggybacking on a contract the company has with Collier County.

City Manager Gary King said previously the city is poised to save a considerable amount of money with the transition from Streicher to Evans.