JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CN) - A married couple says Racetrac Petroleum told them a $25,000 deposit was the first requirement for them to operate a convenience store and gas station - but Racetrac cost them that and a lot more and left them with nothing to show for it.
Livinius and Georgina Dimuna say Racetrac told them it would provide sales training and would refund their deposit if they were unsatisfied with the opportunity.
It wasn't until after they handed over the $25,000 that they say Racetrac informed them they had to get an application from co-defendant Eddy Espinosa, who told them "they could not become operators of a Racetrac business opportunity unless they paid him $137,000," to pay for his interest in the business and inventory, according to the complaint.
When the Dimunas signed a lease, they say they added the words "in protest" or "under duress" in their own handwriting, then invested another $40,000 in inventory and business expenses.
They say Racetrac told them the phrase "under protest" or "under duress" was "not permissible," and that it would cost them their deposit and the business.
The Dimunas say they agreed to sign a new lease but were denied access to the store for several days and that for several weeks afterward the defendants removed inventory without their permission.
They say the misrepresentations by Racetrac and Espinosa cost them $190,000. The Dimunas are represented in Duval County Court by Kelly Mathis and Marteal Lamb.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.