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    Shell C-store Operator Seeks $50M in Libel, Slander Charges Against Partner

    In a case to be heard on Jan. 23, Sammy ElJamal says James Weil called him a 'thief, liar and drug abuser.'

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- An amended libel and slander lawsuit between two of three partners who formed NY Fuel Holdings and Metro NY Dealer Stations will be heard in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Westchester, on Jan. 23.

    As CSNews Online first reported in an industry exclusive on Nov. 29, Sammy ElJamal, the owner of Wholesale Fuels, struck a deal with investor James A. Weil and Leon Silverman, chairman of Silverman Realty Group, in an effort to acquire, lease and distribute fuel to 88 Shell-branded stations in Westchester County, N.Y., New York City and Long Island.

    However, according to ElJamal's complaint -- filed by his attorney Albert J. Pirro -- in or about December 2010, Weil, the defendant in the case, began an unrelenting campaign of "Bashing Sammy ElJamal."

    In a court filing obtained by CSNews Online, ElJamal states the amount of compensatory damages he suffered is at least $50 million. The complaint further states that Weil told anyone who would listen that ElJamal was a "thief, a liar and a drug abuser." ElJamal’s lawsuit added that Weil instructed colleagues not to conduct business with him because his "time was up," and ElJamal was soon to be "indicted and sent to prison."

    ElJamal's complaint states that Weil's intention was to "destroy [ElJamal's] equity, present and future, in the companies which, but for [Weil's] slander and libel, would have been worth approximately $100 million." The complaint is backed up by an included e-mail from one of ElJamal's friends that asks if he is in "danger of going to jail because of improprieties."

    Weil's attorney, Richard Brodsky, has vehemently denied the claims and asked the court to dismiss the libel and slander lawsuit.

    Weil's alleged accusations perhaps are pre-dated by his and Silverman's claims that ElJamal stole more than $1 million from gas-pump sales at the Shell-branded convenience stores. They also allegedly became so disillusioned with ElJamal's work that in June they said they would remove him as a company manager.

    ElJamal's complaint addressed that issue by stating that Weil entered into the agreement knowing he had zero knowledge regarding operating gas stations and convenience stores. According to the ElJamal's lawsuit, Weil "entered into this business relationship expressly based on the fact that [ElJamal] had and continues to have far superior knowledge, experience and contacts within the specific, relevant industries, as compared to [Weil], who has none in the field.”

    Both attorneys are bound under a gag order and therefore cannot speak to CSNews Online.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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