Liens put on Dunkin' Donuts property
Oct 06, 2012 (Menafn - Florida Keys Keynoter - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The Miami-based company that built but has yet to open a Dunkin' Donuts and Valero gas station in Marathon owes more than 5.6 million to the Texas-based oil giant, according to a document sent to a lengthy list of lien holders on Sept. 28.
Sands Petroleum constructed the gas station and store between 73rd and 74th streets on U.S. 1, on the site of a former Miami Subs, and was slated to open by early August. But it's been abandoned for roughly two months and the grass there is at least a foot high in many places.
Valero spokesman Bill Day declined to comment on specifics, but it appears the company has taken over the mortgages on the Marathon property and another in West Palm Beach.
"At this point, it's still too early to speculate about what might happen with the stores. I can tell you that Valero has been in contact with the site owners, and we're working together on a resolution, but everything is still in flux," Day said.
VTD Properties Co., whose parent company is Valero Energy Corp., notified 42 contractors and subcontractors it's willing to pay each a percentage of what they're owed by Sands Petroleum. Each company has until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision.
According to the letter, a total of 571,832 is owed to contractors --278,396 in Marathon and 293,436 in West Palm Beach. Valero is offering to pay 122,747 to Marathon lien holders and 135,404 in West Palm.
"VTD did not contract with you and is not legally obligated to pay you any amounts you claim are owed to you by Sands. VTD's mortgage has priority over your lien," the notification letter says.
But local contractor George Steinmetz, who did contracted work for Miami-based Bill Evans Petroleum and Fort Lauderdale-based Desarata Building Corp., says he's owed roughly 16,000. The letter from VTD lists him as being owed 6,500, of which he would receive 2,600 from Valero.
"If all these people don't accept this, they'll get nothing," Steinmetz said. "At this particular time, we're not going to. The hassle factor is not worth 2,500. By no means is it Valero's fault, but I hope they can do better."
Meanwhile, the city of Marathon's efforts to contact Sands Petroleum about the condition of the property have been unsuccessful, Planning Director George Garrett said. Sands owner Warren Sands did not return calls or e-mails for this story.
"If I can actually make contact with Sands, then I would like them -- I've tried three or four times -- to get on the property and mow the lawn. And those [two] dumpsters need to go," he said.
Garrett said "it's a matter of time" before the property is cited by the city's Code Compliance Department.
The store appeared set to open by August, and Sands indicated as much in a July 31 e-mail to Garrett. Former Sands employee Mikel Isaac said in August that nearly a dozen people had been hired to work at the 24-hour station and Dunkin' Donuts, four per eight-hour shift.
The City Council gave final approval to the project last September. It includes the Dunkin' Donuts, with a drive-through and five fuel bays with 14 pumps.
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