Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

County Attorney subpoenas gas stations

September 19, 2001

The Leavenworth County District Attorney's office has served subpoenas to gas station owners who allegedly raised gasoline prices last week.

"We are going to issue subpoenas for those who raised their prices on Tuesday," Leavenworth County District Attorney Frank Kohl said. "They will be brought in for inquiry as to why their prices were raised and what precipitated the raise."

A national fear of rising gasoline prices was raised on Tuesday, Sept. 11, when rumors were abound that the price of gasoline would sky rocket because of reported oil refinery closings due to a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

The Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department and the Leavenworth Police Department recently concluded an investigation into the price gouging and have turned all the information over to the county attorney.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye said six gas stations in Leavenworth raised their prices. The prices reached as high as $2.59 per gallon, he said.

In addition to the rising prices, Nye said the Sheriff's Department also had to deal with traffic problems in the county on Tuesday.

Kohl said the cases of price gouging were reprehensible acts by gas station owners playing on the fears of the public.

"I think it is basically opportunistic at it's mildest," Kohl said. "It is a case of economic terrorism."

Kohl visited six gasoline stations in Leavenworth last Tuesday and said the gas gougers could be in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

Violators could be prosecuted in both civil and criminal court, and be subject to fines or jail time, he said.

The Leavenworth station owners who will be served a subpoena are not known at this time.

Both the Kansas and Missouri attorney general's are looking into cases of gas gouging.

Kohl said the County Attorney's office would not stand in the way should the attorney general choose to prosecute the Leavenworth violators.

Although some of the gasoline prices in Leavenworth were raised Tuesday, there were no reported raises in the southern portion of the county.

Prices in Basehor, Tonganoxie and Linwood all remained the same throughout the day.

However, some stations in Bonner Springs were not as giving.

Although prices in Bonner Springs did not reach as high as the $5 per gallon reported at some stations in Kansas City, KS, the two Woods Oil stations were charging as much as $2.49.

In a letter to its' customers, the Wood Oil Company explained the reason for the hike. The letter stated that the company heard from gasoline suppliers that "All unbranded product sales are being suspended until further notice."

A local Amoco station also raised their prices slightly.

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