Pennisi fuel site sales spark interest

IT MAY not be the biggest big pineapple in Australia, but its auction is attracting a "large amount" of interest, according to real estate agent Michael Shay.

The Big Pineapple BP service station is for sale and, with it, Ballina's famous Big Pineapple.

Mr Shay, of LJ Hooker Ballina, said many local and interstate buyers had already called his office expressing interest in the property.

The Big Pineapple is one of four service stations and a distribution centre owned by Santo Pennisi set to go under the hammer at an auction at the Ballina RSL Club on July 10.

The other sites are BP North Ballina, BP Wardell, BP Dawson Street in Lismore and a distribution centre at Southern Cross Drive in Ballina.

Mr Shay said the properties, which were to be auctioned separately, would appeal to private investors or large institutions.

Mr Pennisi was last year fined almost half a million dollars for 28 offences under the Trade Practices Act for his involvement in a petrol scam.

He pleaded guilty after it was alleged he ordered tanker drivers to deliver unleaded petrol to bowsers labelled "premium" at 11 BP service stations in Northern NSW. The scam ran for three years.

A Federal Court in Brisbane heard that Mr Pennisi's wholesale company had made about $150,000 from the scam, but that he had shown "genuine remorse" and had tried to pay back his debt to the community.

However, when the details of the scam were revealed, members of the Ballina community were outraged.

Seventy-year-old Ballina pensioner Warren Scanlon told The Northern Star that for two years he filled up his Mercedes-Benz exclusively at the BP in North Ballina. He said had been happy to pay extra for 98 octane fuel, but couldn't work out why he was getting fewer kilometres per litre.


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