RUMFORD – Claiming breach of contract, town attorney Thomas Carey filed suit last week against Baker-Doucette Inc., which does business as Woodstock Oil Co. of Woodstock.

Rumford wants nearly $90,000 in the claim, which stems from a 2005-06 petroleum supply contract for thousands of gallons each of No. 2 heating oil, low sulfur diesel, and unleaded gasoline.

The suit claims the fuel company “has failed and refuses to deliver the balance of the petroleum products under the 2005-2006 petroleum contract.”

Not so, says Portland lawyer Daniel L. Cummings, who is representing Woodstock Oil and its owner, Matt Baker.

“Matt is disappointed in the lawsuit, because he has worked in good faith and worked very hard to deliver” the remaining fuel balances of the 2005-06 prepaid fuel delivery contracts, Cummings said by phone Thursday afternoon.

Until the suit was filed, Cummings said Baker believed Woodstock Oil still had an agreement with Rumford to deliver the remaining prepaid fuel balances by using his new profit margin to buy additional fuel to honor the credit from the 2005-06 contracts.

“This whole dispute is actually fallout from the 2006 bankruptcy of Petroleum Products Cooperative of Maine Inc.,” Cummings said.

Woodstock Oil took prepaid monies from its customers, a collaboration of several River Valley area towns and SADs, and likewise prepaid wholesaler PPCOM of Augusta for delivery of the petroleum products.

“Then, in the middle of the heating season, PPCOM filed for bankruptcy, because it was not paying its major supplier, Irving Oil, and that had a domino effect. Woodstock Oil lost $300,000 and is now facing a dilemma with its customers who prepaid and bought oil and Matt can’t give the money back, Cummings said.

The document, was filed on June 19 with Oxford County Superior Court in Paris, states that Rumford prepaid $264,268, accepting a contract with Woodstock Oil for:

• 57,000 gallons of No. 2 heating oil at $1.539 a gallon, which totals $87,723.

• 68,000 gallons of low sulfur diesel fuel at $1.699 a gallon, which totals $115,532.

• 37,000 gallons of no-lead gasoline at $1.649 a gallon, which totals $61,013.

Carey’s claim states that Woodstock Oil delivered 34,446.5 gallons of No. 2 heating oil at $1.539, totaling $53,013.14; 42,535 gallons of low sulfur diesel at $1.699, totaling $72,266.98; and 26,557 gallons of unleaded gasoline at $1.649, totaling $43,792, for a total cost of $169,072.62.

The suit claims Rumford was charged a higher rate for the balance of the contracted fuels. These were:

• 15,656.1 gallons of No. 2 heating oil at a cover price of $1.824 a gallon, for a total of $28,553.87.

• 21,167.3 gallons of low sulfur diesel at a cover price of $2.202 per gallon, for a total of $46,618.39.

• 5,657.9 gallons of unleaded gasoline at a cover price of $2.248 a gallon, for a total of $12,720.97.

The total cover was $87,893.33.

Rumford, through Carey, asked the court to find Woodstock Oil in breach of contract and order it to pay $87,893.33 plus interests, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; or to cover the difference between the costs that Rumford incurred when it got and accepted deliveries of petroleum from Woodstock Oil at increased prices.

A third count seeks $59,986.31, which the suit claims Woodstock Oil received as advance payments from Rumford under terms of the contract.

Acting Town Manager Len Greaney said he was unaware of the problem or the lawsuit on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, selectmen’s Chairman J. Arthur Boivin said he was aware of the problem, but not the suit.

Boivin and Greaney deferred comment to Carey.

Carey said, “We made every effort to try to resolve this without us filing suit and we’re very disappointed that they didn’t take advantage of our very good settlement offer and, as a result, they forced our hand.”

He wouldn’t reveal the settlement offer amount and declined further comment.

An Oxford County Superior Court clerk assistant contacted Wednesday afternoon said that Woodstock Oil had yet to file a response.


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