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Mika Stambaugh, Director of Public Information (312) 744-5365
CITGO Petroleum Corporation’s website boasts about its retail stores’ excellent products and services, but the City of Chicago found otherwise during investigations.
The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) researched and conducted investigations at several CITGO-branded retail locations after receiving numerous complaints from customers, residents living nearby, and aldermanic offices representing Chicago citizens. BACP found approximately 114 CITGO-branded retailers were in serious violation of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago within the past six years. Among the retailers are 16 locations with egregious violations, which included drug paraphernalia, unstamped cigarettes, tobacco sale to minors, outdated medication, outdated milk and food, no public bathroom, deceptive practices, and overcharging for gas.
“Businesses in the City of Chicago are expected to make a positive contribution to the community, and selling drug paraphernalia and tobacco to minors won’t be tolerated,” said Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. “If a business can not comply with the municipal code, then it will not be doing business in the City of Chicago.”
After meetings to discuss the issues, CITGO and its marketers have agreed to take several steps to rectify the problems. CITGO and its marketers agreed to conduct a Dealer Education Program to educate Chicago-area CITGO-branded retail dealers of their obligations under municipal law and the importance of following the law, which may include one or more BACP attorneys or staff members to lead a discussion regarding compliance.
CITGO also will provide a separate corporate mailbox where BACP can email notices of enforcement against CITGO-branded retail dealers directly to CITGO’s Consumer Complaints Department, which will allow the company to follow up and address the complaint with the retail dealer.
Additionally, CITGO and its marketers agreed to pay a Settlement Payment of $45,000 to BACP to defray the costs and expenses incurred by BACP in connection with the investigation.
The sixteen Chicago locations with egregious violations are: