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Mobil Seeks $2-Million Tax Refund in City Suit

March 24, 1994

Mobil Oil has sued the city of Torrance, asking for a refund of $2.2 million in city taxes.

City officials say Mobil owes the city $1.2 million more on the purchase and transport of natural gas for the Torrance refinery and $500,000 in penalties and interest.

The dispute began with an audit of utility taxes paid on the natural gas piped into the refinery between Jan. 1, 1990, and July 30, 1993. The city hired Municipal Resource Consultants in 1992 to review Mobil's records.

It was during the review of the records that Mobil discovered it was due a refund, said company spokesman Barry Engelberg.

In its lawsuit, Mobil claims that natural gas for the refinery was purchased from an entity other than a gas public utility, and therefore should be exempt from tax under Torrance law.

The City Council voted unanimously to assess the tax and penalties at a March 1 public hearing.

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