Normative Narratives

Transparency Thursday: Is Your Heating Oil Company Stealing Your Money and Making You Sick?

17 Comments

Hey everyone. It has been an exciting week for me, starting my internship at the UNDP. Lots of great people there working on some of the most pressing issues facing the world today (and looking forward into the future).

As for the blogging schedule, it will be as follows: Transparency Thursday, Friday Economic Outlook, Saturday Conflict Watch. No more sports analysis for now, as I need a little personal time, and I feel that quality unbiased sports analysis is readily available from a number of sources.

Also, between all the topics covered here at NN, sports was always the one that didn’t really fit in with the rest. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it, and certainly if there is an important enough story in sports it can crack the Transparency Thursday rotation, but for the foreseeable future that will be the schedule.

Back to the story at hand; a recent report from the NYT highlighted a criminal suit brought against some of New York’s biggest heating oil providers for illegally “cutting” heating oil with recycled or waste oil. “…companies that in recent years have sold tens of millions of gallons of oil to New York City and New York State for schools, housing complexes, universities, hospitals and other buildings.”

“As part of the criminal investigation, the authorities on March 12 raided at least five heating oil businesses in and around the city, including a delivery company and several businesses that deal in waste oil and some that are licensed to recycle it.”

“The businesses that were raided last week as part of the criminal investigation included Statewide Oil and Heating in Brooklyn — a company that is among several that deliver oil for Hess and that until 2011 delivered for Castle — and four interrelated companies that deal in waste oil: County Oil Company and J. B. Waste Oil Company in Astoria, Queens; New York Oil Recovery Corporation in Brooklyn; and Paradise Heating Oil in Ossining, N.Y.

During the raids, investigators from several state, city and federal agencies — some wearing bright yellow head-to-toe protective suits — tested oil and seized computers, reams of records and other materials, carting away more than 100 boxes of documents from one company alone, according to officials and people briefed on the matter.”

The criminal case coincides with a civil case brought against two of New York’s largest private heating oil providers: “Several commercial and residential building owners filed the two lawsuits, seeking class-action status. One accuses Castle Oil Corporation, which describes itself as the largest independent fuel oil distributor in the metropolitan area, of defrauding customers by mixing its fuel with waste oil. The other accuses Hess Corporation, among the world’s leading energy companies, of delivering fuel oil blended with waste oil to its customers, but one of the lawyers who brought the suit said in court last week that Hess might have been victimized by a trucking company or companies that it hired to deliver oil.”

“Last year alone, Castle sold more than 20 million gallons of No. 4 and No. 6 fuel oil — the grades burned in older furnaces — to New York City agencies, an official said. The lawsuit claims it was mixed with waste oil, like motor oil that has been used and discarded, sludge residue from commercial boilers and other used oil and lubricants.”

“But Castle, in its court papers, argued that the lawsuit’s contention that it mixed its fuel with waste oil was based on a single test of one delivery that it made last year out of 108,000, and that the suit provides no details on who conducted the test or how it was performed.”

Selling recycled waste not only is cheating customers by selling them an inferior product, it also poses significant health and environmental risks:

“Burning waste oil in furnaces could present a significant environmental hazard, and if the accusations that the companies cut their fuel are correct, it would mean that dangerous amounts of toxic pollutants had been released into the atmosphere, experts said.”

“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — a senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the president of Waterkeeper Alliance and one of the lawyers who brought the lawsuit against Castle — said the environmental impact of the company’s actions were stark.

‘Basically, that company has turned every boiler or furnace that it services into a toxic-waste incinerator, ’Mr. Kennedy said in an interview. ‘When you burn waste oil, there is a tremendous amount of not only benzene, toluene and xylene, which are known carcinogens, but in addition, there is an inventory of heavy metals that are extremely toxic, including mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, antimony and zinc.’”

First, I would like to address Castle’s claim that the suit “was based on a single test of one delivery that it made last year out of 108,000”. The way I see it, there are only two possible scenarios which make sense here.

A)     There was a false positive on this one test, meaning Castle is indeed being wrongfully accused.

B)      Castle has been mixing in recycled / waste oil into their heating oil—systematically. It makes little sense that one shipment would be “cut”, as the oil is likely processed in huge quantities.

Of course this is all speculation until more details come back on the failed test. But is logical to assume either none of the oil is cut or all of it is.

Secondly, we will address the difference in the two cases. Presumably, the civil case is brought based on evidence that these 2 companies (Castle and Hess) had been involved in the process of selling “cut” oil to private customers. Whoever purchased the oil would have to bring a civil suit against the private companies. If enough people were affected, the case could turn into a “class-action lawsuit”.

In a criminal case, the government brings action against a party.  If cut oil was sold to schools or other public institutions, then it would be a crime against society as a whole. The criminal case makes sense as the victim in this case would be the government and ultimately the taxpayers. Add in the elements of environmental and healthcare concerns, which are regulated by the government, and a strong criminal case begins to form.

These two cases are both in early phases, so we will have to stay posted to see what comes of them. There are moral and ethical, as well as legal implications for misleading customers. The negative publicity from even being under investigation is likely already hurting these companies. Factoring in potential health and environmental degradation, it would not be surprising if ultimately these companies were forced to pay huge fines. Additionally, I would not be surprised to see stricter industry oversight in the future.

As the price of oil has risen, it seems the quality from some providers may be going down. All the most reason for people to consider more environmentally friendly and transparent forms of energy, such as geothermal and solar.

 

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17 thoughts on “Transparency Thursday: Is Your Heating Oil Company Stealing Your Money and Making You Sick?

  1. Why do people insist on pontificating about issues they know nothing about?

    Like

    • Perhaps you would like to elaborate?

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    • What do you mean by this ? I will elaborate. They Buy the oil From Hess & Castle. Go back to the Yard. Than they take polluted waste oil cut it & Delivery it. Than they sell the overage for cash to another fuel Company like Approved. Who by the way was also raided. They get double or tipple the amount of product. Turning this scam into millions of dollars Tax free. My father showed all these scumbags how its done. State Wide Oil’s #1 Driver Mike Calasantro Jr was taught this by my family. Than in 1992 he turned on us and cut a deal with the feds & Irs. We went to jail & Calasantro just moved down the road & has been doing countless scams Cheating honest hard working people & Polluting our environment along w/ State Wide Oil. I have reached out to the IRS, EPA & The Feds. I will show them and fill in all the missing parts. Any one interested please contact me. CRIME WILL NEVER PAY.

      People think 9/11 was bad for the environment. Well these guys have been killing us slowly by pumping our air with all types of poisons & bad things. Hello WASTE OIL. Since before the 1970’s. Whats the result ? They live on Staten Island with fancy cars, Expensive Boats, Big Houses and all the tax free cash you could dream about. Crime Pays for these guys.

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  2. STATE WIDE OIL COMPANY are a bunch of uneducated dirt bags. They been stealing, cheating and avoiding taxes for decades. Arrest them all. You want to pay for $4 plus for air than call them. I hope they all go to Jail. Hey Big Mike lets hope you do 10 to 2. I have some friends inside. Hopefully they will say hello in the shower. STATEWIDE OIL are a bunch of scum

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    • Mike Savino , His father Vincent Savino and a small group of criminals have made millions on this scam. Any one interested in knowing all the details behind the Savino oil & State Wide Scam please contact me. They clean the money by giving Cash than getting a check back from the waste oil company for trucking. Any one interested on how they have been scamming you & NY state & City for 30 years. Please contact me

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      • Thank you for your insight and willingness to inform on the subject!

        If you have any interest in expressing your opinions in a guest blog, I would be happy to post it.

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  3. They Have millions in real estate, boats, cars & Cash. While we breath the polluted air that they make millions on. How many people need to be cheated and polluted before these criminals are stopped. Vincent Savino cheated everybody, Stole from his family and would stop at nothing to make a buck. His Son Micheal is the same. Any body who uses this Company must already be high on the fumes they pollute our city & State with it. Any one who needs info on how they do it please contact me. My father who they threw out on the street 30 years ago wanted them to go legit. The result they threw him out like a piece of trash. Stop the criminals from killing us slowly with polluting our air while selling cut waste oil

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  4. IRS

    MUST BE ON BOSS HOGS PAYROLL.

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  5. LOL BOSS HOG aka Vincent Savino Sr State Wide Oil
    Why would Saint Johns University keep killing there students by burning State Wide Oil on there campus ?

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  6. Have you seen the boats these guys have ? Crime Pays well
    Texas Tea LLC owns 2 boats Texas Tea 65ft Yacht & Black Gold 50ft plus yacht aka Oil
    Follow the Money it goes back to Statewide Oil. That’s over $1,000,000.00 just in Recreational Yachts. Don’t forget the Jet ski’s & speed boats. They just fill them up with the tax free oil they steal everyday. It’s called Overage. $4 a gallon plus Tax = $$$$$$$$. They back the truck right up to the boat and fill them up. How many boat owners get tax free Diesel. 30 years of not paying tax on boating fuel. That’s just a small drop in the bucket ? Let’s not lose site of the waste oil they have pumped into our environment for 30 plus years. Hey if the wheel gets greased why stop it. Everyone is living high on the Hog. Boss HOG.
    It’s the same old crap every day. Money talks & bullshit walks. When will we see some indictments, assets seized, how about the Rico Act ? We need to set examples so people learn Crime Does Not Pay

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  7. I heard Vivian Cardia is Sleeping with Vincent Savino State Wide Oil. She tried to bail herself out but hit a wall when she married the poorer stupid Brother. Word on the street is that she gets more than Cash from Boss Hog

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  8. I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also
    pay a quick visit this website on regular basis
    to get updated from most up-to-date information.

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  9. Is there anyone going threw what i’m going thru, I’ve been customer of castle fuel for about 10 year and the last three years i have caught castle fuel billing me for 1000 gallons and only give me 100 gallons its happened about 14 times and castles legal (collection team ) will not give me the money or credit back. What should i do next. i have ll the documents to prov this. So if there is lawyer reading this contact me.

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