Charlotte Gas Station Owner Subpoenaed
A Charlotte gas station owner subpoenaed by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says he had a good reason to raise prices as Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast. Randy Helms owns the Oakhill Deli and Grill in North Charlotte. He says he raised his gas rates about $0.50 to $4.49 a gallon for regular unleaded as oil refineries shut down in anticipation of Hurricane Ike. "People were bombarding us from every direction and they were wiping our gas out. Not our everyday regular community customers that we have relationships with." He explains, "We voted to just raise the price to discourage people from continuing to come." Helms says he wanted to make sure his regular customers including several small businesses could count on gassing up at his station. Two days later, he says he brought prices down to $3.99. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has issued a couple dozen subpoenas to gas stations across the state asking them to explain their pricing around the time of Hurricane Ike. Helms is confident he'll be vindicated. Still, he says he doesn't understand why he received a subpoena when other gas stations also raised prices, but never heard from Cooper.