A Burleson-based gas station has been sued by the Texas attorney general's office over allegations of price-gouging after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August.
Big Willy's, which has locations in Burleson, Mansfield, Arlington, Lake Worth and Joshua, sold regular unleaded gas for as high as $4.99 a gallon from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Johnson County court Monday.
That was over $1.50 more than Big Willy's had been selling unleaded gas for before Aug. 31, the lawsuit said.
Big Willy's owner Prem Suhalka of Burleson could not be reached for comment Monday night. Suhalka also owns Big Willy's store in Cleburne, Mineral Wells and Whitney, according to the lawsuit.
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The price-gouging lawsuit included a picture of a Big Willy's sign, showing the price of gas to be $4.99 per gallon, as well as pictures of receipts from customers.
About 200 customers complained about Big Willy's alleged price-gouging, the lawsuit said. A Facebook page for the Big Willy's location in Burleson, at Interstate 35W at Rendon-Crowley Road, shows a litany of price-gouging complaints against the store.
The alleged price-gouging by Big Willy's happened during a brief gas shortage across North Texas just before Labor Day weekend. Fearing Harvey's impact would cut off the supply of gasoline to the area, motorists swarmed to gas stations, resulting in long lines and causing some stations to run out of fuel.
The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton's office is seeking penalties of more than $100,000.
Paxton also filed suit against Tejano Mart in Laredo, claiming the station sold regular unleaded gas for as much as $9.99 per gallon after Harvey hit.
In September, Paxton sued Bains Brothers, owners of a Texaco chain of gas stations in North Texas, over price-gouging allegations after Harvey. Last month, Paxton sent price-gouging violation notices to 127 businesses across the state.
“Price gouging is illegal, unconscionable and completely opposite the spirit of cooperation we saw just about everywhere else in our state before, during and after the hurricane," Paxton said in a statement Monday.