FuelNation Boss Stepping Down

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FuelNation Boss Stepping Down

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In January, FuelNation Inc., led by the controversial CEO Chris Salmonson, said it planned to jump into the travel plaza business. It revealed plans to build a mind-boggling 45-acre travel center that would also serve as an education training center.

The project seemed incomprehensible in scope and vision. Longtime industry observers looked on with suspicion. Their doubts were justified.

Salmonson, who earlier this year also teased the media about an impending acquisition of the "largest petroleum marketer in the Southeast," was recently imprisoned on 13 counts of grand theft for allegedly bilking his church of nearly $1.7 million.

Now, in a long-winded announcement to shareholders, Salmonson said he would step down as the head of FuelNation.

"I have also agreed to step down from my management roll as CEO and President prior to funding, until the allegations against me are settled or we can find a permanent replacement," he said in an unwieldy President's Letter released this week that addresses developments concerning the business and his arrest by the Sheriff's Office in Broward County, Fla.. He was accused of receiving $1.67 million from the Abundant Life Christian Centre for real estate that was never conveyed to the church.

As for the business, Salmonson said the company had been working to develop a comprehensive management information systems (MIS) in the petroleum marketing and convenience store industry. In mid August, he said, FuelNation signed off on an $80-million bond as part of a larger $330 million bond funding.

One problem ? FuelNation has no money, nor has it had money.

"Since FuelNation does not have any operating revenues or capital in the bank," Salmonson said at the start of a rambling statement in which he goes on to describe how he tapped his vast connections, only to fail to come up with the necessary bond fees since "I was absent from the operations of FuelNation in excess of 45 days after the signing of the term sheet."

Salmonson was in prison.