Wednesday, July 29, 2015

'Home' Business Plans $300 Million Fuel Facility Investment Says Governor

Will This Distribution Project Ever Get Off The Ground?

LABELLE, FL, -- Florida Governor Rick Scott announced this week that a company named Florida Fuel Connection will establish a petroleum product logistics and distribution facility in Hendry County, near the city of LaBelle.

The Hendry County and other proposed South Florida facilities will receive and distribute petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel according to the company and Scott.

A quick search for the history of the CEO and the company turned up some interesting facts that may lead to some uncertainty.

According to Florida Secretary of State corporate records Florida Fuel Connection LLC is owned by Armbrust Aviation Group, Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. which is in turn owned by John and Pauline Armbrust.  The couple also owned Aviation Fuel Associates, Inc. until it went out of business in 2007. 

The Armbrust's operate the company out of their home at 8340 Steeplechase Drive in Palm Beach County.

John H. Armbrust, CEO of Florida Fuel Connections LLC, last year changed his mind about investing in a Fort Pierce fuels distribution facility and said he was not going to St. Lucie County because of government officials’ reluctance to dredge the port to make it deeper. He then turned his attention towards pitching officials at the Port of Jacksonville.

Florida Fuel Connections on it webpage says it is supported by "strategic infrastructure partners - CSX Corporation TRansportation and South Central Florida Express, Inc." 

South Central Florida Express is a short line railroad operated by U.S. Sugar and has Clewiston officers including Malcom Wade, Kenneth McDuffie, and Elaine Wood.

Louisiana state officials and Armbrust also this week claims Florida Fuel Connection LLC will make a $75 million capital investment to build a petroleum terminal and rail transportation facility in East Feliciana Parish, near the Mississippi River. That project is said to create 50 new jobs at an average annual salary of $70,000.

Governor Scott said about the LaBelle proposed project, “We are excited to announce that Florida Fuel Connection has chosen Hendry County as the best place to launch their business and create new jobs. Over the past four years, we have worked hard to create a pro-business environment that encourages growth and innovation so companies like Florida Fuel Connection can succeed. We will keep working to make Florida the number one state in the nation for businesses to grow and create jobs for our families.”

Scott said the project will create nearly 300 construction jobs over a 14 month period and 50 full-time jobs, with a capital investment of more than $300 million. FFC projects to add a second facility in South Florida in 2017.

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“Florida’s rail infrastructure, unique location and pro-business climate made it a strong candidate for this project,” said John H. Armbrust, CEO of Florida Fuel Connection. “We used a comprehensive process to determine the most efficient, cost effective, safe and reliable infrastructure system to meet the expectations of Florida’s petroleum product suppliers and end-users. The Hendry and South Florida locations provide us with the necessary resources to build these logistics facilities, and will allow us to meet customer fuel demands more efficiently and safely than ever before.”

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