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HIALEAH, Fla. -- Capital Oil & Gas Inc., a fast-growing c-store operator based here, yesterday said an independent accounting firm will complete its 2008 year-end audited financial statements in an effort to create additional corporate transparency.
A person answering the phone at the company’s headquarters told CSNews Online company President and CEO Ariel Rodriguez was out of town and could not be reached until next week. However, a statement from Rodriguez on the company’s Web site may shed some light on a possible reason behind the audit and why the company would announce it in a statement.
"We at Capital Oil and Gas [CPOG] are working very hard to acquire additional gas stations and convenience stores," said Rodriguez on the site. "We bought the CPOG shell when the stock price had no bid. It has been up to as high as .0005. We feel that the company is being slandered by www.pinksheets.com and we have been working to have the management of www.pinksheets.com remove the Caveat Emptor on their information page of CPOG."
Pink Sheets is an electronic quotation system operated by Pink OTC Markets that displays quotes from broker-dealers for many over-the-counter securities. The company’s current listing for CPOG states "Pink OTC Markets has discontinued the display of quotes on pinksheets.com for this security because it has been labeled Caveat Emptor [Buyer Beware] and because adequate current information has not been made available by the issuer of the securities."
The site goes on to list a number of possible reasons for the Caveat Emptor rating, including "questionable promotion," "spam," "investigation of fraud" and "suspension/halt" of trading by a regulatory authority. Rodriguez calls all these allegations "slanderous" in his statement.
"We have supplied all the information they [Pink Sheets] requested, however they are holding up the removal of the Caveat Emptor symbol on their page about the company, until we pay $3,000.00 plus additional and sundry fees periodically. It has been explained to us that www.pinksheets.com is a private company, and owns the Web site, and they can do as they please," wrote Rodriguez. "We, nor anyone we know or ever done business with, have ever spammed, nor done any of the items that www.pinksheets.com slanderously infer are the reasons that they have attached the Caveat Emptor to the CPOG page. We are an operator of gas stations and we hope to grow to be a large distributor of petroleum products in the near future. We hope that your investment in the petroleum distribution business will be successful and profitable. We will continue to pursue www.pinksheets.com to remove their Caveat Emptor symbol."
Rodriguez became president and COO of Capital Oil in May when Podium Venture Group approved a complete restructuring of the company’s corporate business model in May 2008. In August, CSNews Online reported Capital Oil & Gas was acquiring 11 full service gas and convenience store stations in Florida to add to four additional sites it previously purchased. At the time, the company projected it would have 15 sites with projected annual gross revenues of between $85 million and $92 million with a pre-tax profit margin of between 8 and 12 percent.
"As previously stated, it is the intent of executive management to control either by acquisitions or leases enough stations to generate a minimum of $100 million dollars per year in revenue, with a potential pre-tax profit margin of 8 percent to 12 percent per year overall. The company believes that it would then be in a position to become a fully reporting company and leverage its buying power from its suppliers," said Rodriguez in a statement at that time.
The company continued making acquisitions -- the most recent being 20 Mel’s Pizza quick-service restaurants in Florida.