Closing the Book on Christy's

Mass. businessman/politician Mihos shutters last two shops

CHATHAM, Mass. -- Massachusetts businessman and politician Christy Mihos recently closed his last two gas stations, according to a report by The Cape Cod Times. The stations were in Chatham and Dennis, Mass. The locations closed because parent company Christy's of Cape Cod has a noncompete agreement with Hess Corp., which purchased 11 Christy's from Mihos in February 2009.

New York City-based Hess also retained the option of buying the remaining locations from Mihos but declined to do so, according the report.

A Hess spokesperson declined to comment, the [image-nocss] newspaper said. Mihos could not be reached for comment, it added.

"There were rumblings about this for a long time, so it did not come as a surprise," Chatham Selectman David Whitcomb told the paper.

Mihos and his company have faced significant financial difficulties in the past year, the report said. In January, Christy's of Cape Cod was sued by Noonan Brothers Petroleum Products, a West Bridgewater, Mass., gasoline supplier that contended that Mihos' company owed $634,000 for goods and delivery fees. The parties settled, but Noonan Brothers brought Christy's back to court in June, saying the company failed to live up to its end of the bargain, according to records filed in Plymouth Superior Court cited by the Times.

The judge dismissed Noonan Brothers' motion, said the report, but the company is now appealing.

Litigation is also ongoing regarding the Dennis Christy's location, the report said. Concerned with increased traffic, neighbors of the store objected to Mihos' plans to convert an old service center on the lot into a convenience store and appealed the planning board's approval of the project. The pending case meant that only the gas station could open on the lot, Dennis Town Planner Daniel Fortier told the paper.

The future of the Dennis and Chatham properties is unclear, the report said. Mihos owns the Dennis lot and, if the legal issues are resolved, a c-store could operate at the site, Fortier said. "The retail use that was approved by the planning board is still valid," he said.

The Chatham location is owned by Five MJ Inc. According to a memo sent to town officials by the planning department cited by the paper, the owners do not yet have plans for what to do next with the property.