Right of First Refusal

Right of First Refusal

In 2008 it became clear that a dramatic change was about to occur in the gasoline retailer landscape.  ExxonMobil, Shell, and other Big Oil Companies had decided they were leaving the retail market in New Jersey and around the Nation, but they were not willing to allow Franchisees who have built these businesses the opportunity to purchase their locations.  NJGCA Executive Director Sal Risalvato stated, “these franchisees have spent hundreds of thousands on the business, and placed their blood, sweat, and tears into making these business what they are today.  It is time to afford franchisees the right to purchase their stations.”  To counteract this injustice NJGCA sprang into action and introduced the landmark “First Right of Refusal Law.”  This legislation leveled the playing field, and allows franchisees the opportunity to purchase their businesses at a price equal to the highest bid of another potential purchaser.  This legislation was simply a basic courtesy being placed into statute.  Without this legislation Big Oil would have compromised the future of New Jersey’s Motor Fuel Market by selling off their locations en masse to mega-distributors.  This was problematic not just because it was unfair for the franchisees but because there was a history of mega-distributors taking over and then acting in ways which force out the franchisee.  It is NJGCA’s moral position that we must protect every franchisee regardless of the size of their franchisor.

213th Legislature (2008-2009) 

S-2553

Summary: Concerns franchisors’ assignment of interest relating to franchisees engaged in the retail sale of motor fuel.

Status: Signed into law

Sponsors: Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) & Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen)

Click here to view the original bill text

NJGCA knew that in order for this law to be at all effective, it had to be enacted quickly.  It was introduced on February 9, 2009 and was heard by the Senate Commerce Committee on February 26th.  Executive Director Sal Risalvato testified there accompanied by dozens of motor fuel retailer franchisees.

Click here to listen to the audio recording of Sal’s testimony

The Committee amended the bill and then passed it by a 4-0 vote and it moved on to the full Senate for a vote.

Click here to read the bill, as amended

 

Voting results:

Senator Nia Gill (D-Essex) (Chair) –Yes

Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union) (Vice-Chair) –Yes

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen)Yes

Senator Robert Singer (R-Ocean)Yes

Senator Nick Scutari (D-Union)Not Voting

 

On March 16, 2009 the bill was passed by a 30-3 vote in the Senate:

Name

County

District

Party

S-2553

Jeff   Van Drew Cape   May

1

D

NV

Jim   Whelan Atlantic

2

D

Yes

Steve   Sweeney Gloucester

3

D

Yes

Fred   Madden Gloucester

4

D

No

Dana   Redd Camden

5

D

Yes

Jim   Beach Camden

6

D

Yes

Diane   Allen Burlington

7

R

No

Phil   Haines Burlington

8

R

Yes

Christopher   Connors Ocean

9

R

Yes

Andrew   Ciesla Ocean

10

R

NV

Sean   Kean Monmouth

11

R

Yes

Jen   Beck Monmouth

12

R

Yes

Joe   Kyrillos Monmouth

13

R

Yes

Bill   Baroni Middlesex

14

D

Yes

Shirley   Turner Mercer

15

D

NV

Christopher   “Kip” Bateman Somerset

16

R

NV

Bob   Smith Middlesex

17

D

NV

Barbara   Buono Middlesex

18

D

Yes

Joe   Vitale Middlesex

19

D

Yes

Ray   Lesniak Union

20

D

No

Tom   Kean Union

21

R

Yes

Nick   Scutari Union

22

D

Yes

Marcia   Karrow Warren

23

R

Yes

Steve   Oroho Sussex

24

R

NV

Anthony   R. Bucco Morris

25

R

Yes

Joe   Pennachio Morris

26

R

Yes

Dick   Codey Essex

27

D

Yes

Ron   Rice Essex

28

D

Yes

Teresa   Ruiz Essex

29

D

Yes

Bob   Singer Ocean

30

R

Yes

Sandra   Cunningham Hudson

31

D

Yes

Nick   Sacco Hudson

32

D

Yes

Brian   Stack Hudson

33

D

Yes

Nia   Gill Essex

34

D

Yes

John   Girgenti Passaic

35

D

Yes

Paul   Sarlo Bergen

36

D

Yes

Loretta   Weinberg Bergen

37

D

Yes

Bob   Gordon Bergen

38

D

NV

Gerald   Cardinale Bergen

39

R

Yes

Kevin   O’Toole Essex

40

R

Yes

 

A-3726

Summary: Concerns franchisors’ assignment of interest relating to franchisees engaged in the retail sale of motor fuel.

Status: Signed into law

Sponsors: Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex)

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union)

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Somerset)

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-Hudson)

Cosponsors: Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson)

Assemblywoman Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson)

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen)

Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen)

Assemblyman Joe Vas (D-Middlesex)

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester)

 

On March 12, 2009 the First Right of Refusal bill was heard before the Assembly Transportation Committee.  In addition to Executive Director Sal Risalvato, testimony was also heard from NJGCA members and franchisees Ebbie Ashabe and Ed Kashouty.  The bill was amended and passed the Committee by a vote of 8-1-3 and sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Click here to view the original bill text

Click here to read the bill, as amended

Click here to listen to the audio testimony of Executive Director Sal Risalvato

Click here to read the written testimony presented to the committee by Sal Risalvato

Click here to read the testimony presented to the committee by Ebbie Ashabe

Click here to read the testimony presented to the committee by Ed Kashouty

Voting Results:

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) (Chair) –Yes

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) (Vice-Chair) –Yes

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson)Yes

Assemblywoman Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson)Yes

Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith (D-Hudson)Yes

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen)Yes

Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-Passaic)Yes

Assemblyman Brian Rumpf (R-Ocean)Yes

Assemblyman Scott Rudder (R-Burlington)No

Assemblyman Tom Giblin (D-Montclair)Abstain

Assemblyman Matt Milam (D-Cumberland)Abstain

Assemblyman John Amodeo (R-Atlantic)Abstain

 

On May 18, 2009 the bill was heard before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Sal Risalvato again testified and the bill was amended and passed the committee by an 8-0-3 vote and was sent to the full Assembly for a floor vote.

Click here to read the bill, as amended

To listen to an audio recording of Sal’s testimony, with NJGCA Members Ed Kashouty and Ebbie Ashabe, please click here

Click here to read Sal’s written testimony

Voting results:

Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic) (Chair) –Yes

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) (Vice-Chair) –Yes

Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-Middlesex)Yes

Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington)Yes

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden)Yes

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos (D-Hudson)Yes

Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union)Yes

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex)Yes

Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington)Abstain

Senator Michael Doherty (R-Warren)Abstain

Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Morris)Abstain

Senator Sam Thompson (R-Middlesex)Not Voting

 

On May 21, 2009 the Assembly voted on the First Right of Refusal bill.  It passed 71-3-3.  Voting results below:

Click here to read the Handouts NJGCA left for Legislature members

Name

County

District

Party

FRoR

Nelson   Albano Cumberland

1

D

Yes

Matt   Milam Cumberland

1

D

Yes

John   Amodeo Atlantic

2

R

Yes

Vince   Polistina Atlantic

2

R

Yes

John   Burzichelli Gloucester

3

D

Yes

Celeste   Riley Cumberland

3

D

Yes

Sandra   Love Camden

4

D

NV

Paul   Moriarity Gloucester

4

D

Yes

Joe   Roberts Camden

5

D

Yes

Nilsa   Cruz-Perez Camden

5

D

Yes

Lou   Greenwald Camden

6

D

Yes

Pamela   Lampitt Camden

6

D

Yes

Herb   Conaway Burlington

7

D

Yes

Jack   Conners Camden

7

D

Yes

Scott   Rudder Burlington

8

R

Abs

Dawn   Marie Addiego Burlington

8

R

Abs

Daniel   Van Pelt Ocean

9

R

Yes

Brian   Rumpf Ocean

9

R

Yes

Jim   Holzapfel Ocean

10

R

Yes

David   Wolfe Ocean

10

R

Yes

Mary   Pat Angelini Monmouth

11

R

Yes

Dave   Rible Monmouth

11

R

Yes

Caroline   Casagrande Monmouth

12

R

Yes

Declan   O’Scanlon Monmouth

12

R

Yes

Sam   Thompson Middlesex

13

R

Yes

Amy   Handlin Monmouth

13

R

Yes

Wayne   DeAngelo Mercer

14

D

Yes

Linda   Greenstein Mercer

14

D

Yes

Reed   Gusciora Mercer

15

D

Yes

Bonnie   Watson Coleman Mercer

15

D

Yes

Peter   Biondi Somerset

16

R

Yes

Denise   Coyle Somerset

16

R

Yes

Upendra   Chivukula Somerset

17

D

Yes

Joe   Egan Middlesex

17

D

NV

Patrick   Diegnan Middlesex

18

D

Yes

Peter   Barnes Middlesex

18

D

Yes

John   Wisniewski Middlesex

19

D

Yes

Joe   Vas Middlesex

19

D

NV

Joe   Cryan Union

20

D

Yes

Annette   Quijano Union

20

D

Yes

Jon   Bramnick Union

21

R

Yes

Nancy   Munoz Union

21

R

Yes

Linda   Stender Union

22

D

Yes

Jerry   Green Union

22

D

Yes

Mike   Doherty Warren

23

R

Abs

John   DiMaio Warren

23

R

Yes

Gary   Chiusano Sussex

24

R

Yes

Alison   Littell McHose Sussex

24

R

Yes

Michael   Patrick Carroll Morris

25

R

No

Rick   Merkt Morris

25

R

No

Alex   DeCroce Morris

26

R

Yes

Jay   Webber Morris

26

R

No

John   McKeon Essex

27

D

Yes

Mila   Jasey Essex

27

D

Yes

Ralph   Caputo Essex

28

D

Yes

Cleopatra   Tucker Essex

28

D

Yes

L.   Grace Spencer Essex

29

D

Yes

Albert   Couthino Essex

29

D

Yes

Ronald   Dancer Ocean

30

R

Yes

Joe   Malone Burlington

30

R

Yes

L.   Harvey Smith Hudson

31

D

Yes

Anthony   Chiappone Hudson

31

D

Yes

Vincent   Prieto Hudson

32

D

Yes

Joan   Quigley Hudson

32

D

Yes

Ruben   Ramos Hudson

33

D

Yes

Caridad   Rodriguez Hudson

33

D

Yes

Sheila   Oliver Essex

34

D

Yes

Tom   Giblin Essex

34

D

Yes

Nellie   Pou Passaic

35

D

Yes

Elease   Evans Passaic

35

D

Yes

Gary   Schaer Passaic

36

D

Yes

Frederick   Scalera Essex

36

D

Yes

Valerie   Vaineri Huttle Bergen

37

D

Yes

Gordon   Johnson Bergen

37

D

Yes

Connie   Wagner Bergen

38

D

Yes

Joan   Voss Bergen

38

D

Yes

Charlotte   Vandervalk Bergen

39

R

Yes

John   Rooney Bergen

39

R

Yes

Scott   Rumana Passaic

40

R

Yes

David   Russo Bergen

40

R

Yes

Because the bill passed by the Assembly had been amended since it had passed the Senate, the Senate to vote again on the updated bill.  They did so hours after it passed the Assembly by a 37-0 vote.  Results below:

Name

County

District

Party

FRoR

Jeff   Van Drew Cape   May

1

D

Yes

Jim   Whelan Atlantic

2

D

Yes

Steve   Sweeney Gloucester

3

D

Yes

Fred   Madden Gloucester

4

D

Yes

Dana   Redd Camden

5

D

Yes

Jim   Beach Camden

6

D

NV

Diane   Allen Burlington

7

R

Yes

Phil   Haines Burlington

8

R

Yes

Christopher   Connors Ocean

9

R

Yes

Andrew   Ciesla Ocean

10

R

Yes

Sean   Kean Monmouth

11

R

Yes

Jen   Beck Monmouth

12

R

Yes

Joe   Kyrillos Monmouth

13

R

Yes

Bill   Baroni Middlesex

14

D

Yes

Shirley   Turner Mercer

15

D

Yes

Christopher   “Kip” Bateman Somerset

16

R

Yes

Bob   Smith Middlesex

17

D

Yes

Barbara   Buono Middlesex

18

D

Yes

Joe   Vitale Middlesex

19

D

Yes

Ray   Lesniak Union

20

D

Yes

Tom   Kean Union

21

R

Yes

Nick   Scutari Union

22

D

Yes

Marcia   Karrow Warren

23

R

Yes

Steve   Oroho Sussex

24

R

Yes

Anthony   R. Bucco Morris

25

R

Yes

Joe   Pennachio Morris

26

R

Yes

Dick   Codey Essex

27

D

Yes

Ron   Rice Essex

28

D

Yes

Teresa   Ruiz Essex

29

D

Yes

Bob   Singer Ocean

30

R

Yes

Sandra   Cunningham Hudson

31

D

Yes

Nick   Sacco Hudson

32

D

Yes

Brian   Stack Hudson

33

D

Yes

Nia   Gill Essex

34

D

NV

John   Girgenti Passaic

35

D

NV

Paul   Sarlo Bergen

36

D

Yes

Loretta   Weinberg Bergen

37

D

Yes

Bob   Gordon Bergen

38

D

Yes

Gerald   Cardinale Bergen

39

R

Yes

Kevin   O’Toole Essex

40

R

Yes

Finally, and with not a day to spare, Governor Jon Corzine signed the First Right of Refusal bill into law, saving hundreds of small businessman from losing the rights to the business they had spent years building up.

Click here to read the pamphlet law