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    Virginia Company Sues ExxonMobil

    DAG Enterprises seeks $10 billion in damages for alleged discrimination.

    A minority-owned company that accused Exxon Mobil Corp. of discrimination for rejecting its bid to buy 1,200 East Coast convenience stores said yesterday it will seek $10 billion in damages from the oil giant.

    Fairfax, Va.-based DAG Enterprises Inc. said ExxonMobil rigged the 1999 bidding for convenience stores in the Northeast. DAG, a privately held petroleum wholesaler and retailer, filed a lawsuit in December 1999 charging ExxonMobil with conspiring to sell 1,740 convenience stores to a company with ties to Exxon. DAG said it tried to buy 1,200 of the stations but was turned down by Exxon because it is minority-owned, Reuters reported.

    ExxonMobil was forced by regulators to sell 1,740 c-stores as a condition for approving the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Lawyers for DAG said Exxon lied to the company about the requirements for buying the stations.

    ExxonMobil sold the stations for $870 million to Tosco Corp., which agreed to operate them under the Exxon and Mobil banners for at least 10 years.

    No date has been set for trial in the lawsuit, which was filed in Washington, D.C. ExxonMobil has pending motions to dismiss the case, the report said.

    ExxonMobil spokeswoman Lauren Kerr said yesterday the merging companies acted according to Federal Trade Commission guidelines that it sell the Northeast stations in no more than two regional blocks. "DAG originally said they wanted to buy the Washington D.C. stations only," Kerr said.

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