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Inder Parmar, who leased fuel stops in Long Island City and College Point, learned Friday that he would be evicted from the two properties, 10 months after he stopped paying rent to the petroleum giant in protest of what he said were unfair business tactics.After the Russian company LukOil acquired Getty Petroleum Marketing in 2001, he said the company raised his rent from $3,000 to $9,000 and slashed his commissions from $15,000 to $6,000 a month. "I'm not going to let anyone treat me like a slave," he said. So he stopped paying rent. LukOil stopped delivering his gas and began eviction proceedings, the first of which was dismissed on a technicality in January.Queens Civil Court Judge James Golia granted the second eviction petition July 28, finding Parmar in default of $240,000 in back rent. The eviction notices state that he must vacate by Aug. 20 his stations at 26-27 College Point Blvd. and 49-25 Van Dam St. Parmar, who is hoping to get a last-minute reprieve, plans to keep coming to work until city marshals show up, forcing him from the Long Island City station he has operated since 1989 and the College Point station he took over five years ago. "We held out the fight for 11 months. We're going to hold out as long as we can," Parmar said during a press conference at his Van Dam Street station Friday. Still, he concedes that they end is near. He will cease gas deliveries after Sunday, saying that he does not want to lose the roughly $18,000 worth of fuel he pumps in daily when the marshals eventually show up. Since May he has been buying gas from Thruway Trucking in Richmond Hill and selling it at a discount, earning a profit of 14 cents a gallon. Under Getty/LukOil, he said he was earning 4.5 cents a gallon. "It's nothing short of highway robbery," he said. The 44-year-old father of three made headlines in the past four months, selling gas as cheap as $1.86 a gallon while prices throughout the city soared above $2. He said that he was selling it so cheap to illustrate the company's greed, charging that Getty/LukOil used "mob-like practices" to jack up its prices while squeezing their franchisers. "To be self-employed, to be working for myself - that is my American Dream," Parmar said. "Getty/LukOil is making it like a nightmare." Getty's chief counsel was unavailable for comment, but a spokeswoman told the TimesLedger last year that Parmar, having violated his lease, was essentially squatting on its property.Parmar, who immigrated 25 years ago to the United States from India, said he drove a cab before he went into the gas business. If he loses his stations, he said might have to resume his job as a taxi driver to support his wife and three kids. Still, he said he has no regrets about squaring off with LukOil. It taught his children to never back down from a bully, even if that bully is an international oil company with deep pockets and ties to the Russian government."I'm doing it right," Parmar said. "If I would not have fought, my kids would have thought that it's all right for a rich person to take advantage of a poor guy. Now my 9-year-old knows if he has to fight, he has to fight."Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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