Edited by Alex Constantine
Skyscraper bomb plot foiled by FBI arrest of Italy man
October 1st, 2009
" ... Smadi, according to Italy and Waxahachie residents, worked at the Shell station owned by Ali Sharaf, who owns Victron Energy and runs dozens of gas stations in Ellis County and southern Dallas County. Sharaf has been a prominent backer of local Republican politicians, including former Ellis County Judge Chad Adams, who now serves as Victrons vice president. ... "
Victron is one of the largest U.S. distributors of Shell and Exxon fuels. It distributes whole petroleum products such as diesel fuel and gasoline. Victron’s other subsidiaries build restaurants, quality stores, shopping centers and retail sites throughout the region.
Victron’s owner: Ali Sharaf
Ali Sharaf, Alleged Ties Terrorism
Like Richard Rainwater, Ali Sharaf is a Rich Republican Financier
... The wealthy oilman gave $5,000 to a young Red Oak mayoral candidate by the name of Todd Little a few years ago and ever since then, people have gone conspiracy-theory over just how much influence this man -- who owns pretty much every Exxon in Ellis County and Vectron Energy in Waxahachie (the new building across from the Chamber of Commerce on YMCA Drive) -- reportedly has. Never met the guy, but people in Red Oak are still waiting for his steakhouse on I-35. ...
Subject: Ali Sharif home and gas stations in Red Oak raided
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 10:53:32 -0500
... 2 Exxon stations (Harris and Norton) were raided by ICE agents early Sunday morning. They also went to Ali Sharif's home in Ovilla, and confiscated documents and records because the government has information that he has been sending money to terrorist groups. I would like to see you investigate this and let us know if this is true. If it is, the citizens of Red Oak and Ovilla need to know so that they can choose other places to purchase their gas. I am giving you this information because I have not seen anything in the local papers yet.
Please do not post my e-mail address, as I would like to remain anonymous.
From: "Terror arrest shocks neighbors, strangers in Italy, Texas"
... It's still not clear what drew Smadi, 19, to Ellis County or his job at Texas Best Smokehouse, a large facility with a Sonic restaurant, a Shell gas station and a shop that sells beef jerky. The travel stop, just off Interstate 35-E on Dale Evans Drive, sells everything from alligator jerky to kitschy "Official Texas Passports."
The property is owned by Saldena Properties LP, a company owned by Ellis County businessman Ali Sharaf. Saldena Properties leases the building to Andrew and Cindy Burch, restaurant proprietors who also operate the popular Dove's Nest restaurant in Waxahachie.
Sharaf could not be reached for comment Friday, but Harold Green, a spokesman for his company, released a statement saying that it had nothing to do with Smadi or his employment at Texas Best Smokehouse.
"Neither Victron Energy Inc. nor Saldena Properties LP are responsible for the hiring or firing of any employee at that location and they have no relationship with the individual being accused," the statement said. "No employee or member of the management of Victron Energy Inc. or Saldena Properties LP has any personal or business relationship with the accused."
Green said that several years ago, federal immigration officials checked a business for an illegal immigrant at a Red Oak convenience store on a property owned by Saldena. He said the officials were looking for the mother of one of the employees of the store, which is owned an operated by an independent tenant.
Green said Wednesday that no business owned or operated by Mr. Sharaf had ever been investigated or raided by immigration officials and no employee of Mr. Sharaf has ever been detained or investigated.
Records show that Sharaf has donated more than $23,000 to Texas politicians or political action committees since 2001, including more than $11,000 last year to Texans for Rick Perry. He has given more than $12,000 since 2003 to Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, whose district includes Ellis County.
Barton's press secretary, Sean Brown, on Friday acknowledged that Sharaf has contributed to the campaign but declined to say whether Barton had ever intervened on Sharaf's behalf with federal immigration officials or other federal agencies.
"Regarding your questions about casework, our office considers the casework it does on behalf of constituents confidential. This is a courtesy extended everyone who lives in the 6th District," said Brown.
The Burches, who, records show, have had a business relationship with Sharaf since July 2008, also could not be reached Friday. But a statement on behalf of Texas Best Smokehouse that came from a fax machine tied to Andrew Burch expressed shock and sadness "by the attempted act of terrorism in downtown Dallas."
"We applaud the efforts of the FBI and United States attorney, and are thankful that the authorities were able to catch the individual and prevent a tragedy," it stated. "We are grateful for their hard work, and we are committed to working with them in their investigation."
The three-paragraph statement did not mention Smadi by name.
Some of Sharaf's Republican Party Campaign Donations
Sharaf, Ali - WAXAHACHIE TX 75168 - $20400 in Political Contributions for 2008.
75165 $1,000 06/19/2008 P REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS - Republican
SHARAF, ALI MR. WAXAHACHIE TX 75168 2004-07-28 200 BUSH-CHENEY '04 (PRIMARY) INC
Sharaf, Ali Mr. Waxahachie TX 75168 H&H Oil Co/Distributor 2003-09-26 250 2003 PRESIDENT'S DINNER COMMITTEE