Manuel Moroun

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Manuel Moroun
Born (1927-06-05) June 5, 1927 (age 87)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Matty Moroun
Ethnicity Lebanese
Alma mater University of Notre Dame
Occupation Chairman and CEO of CenTra Inc.
Known for Owner of the Ambassador Bridge and Michigan Central Station
Net worth Decrease US $ 1.5 billion (Sept 2013)[1]
Spouse(s) Nora[2]
Children Matthew Moroun
Bill W. Moroun[2]

Manuel "Matty" Moroun (born June 5, 1927) is an American businessman in the Detroit, Michigan area and the owner of CenTra, Inc., the holding company which controls the Ambassador Bridge, the international crossing connecting Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.[3][4] This is the only private ownership of a border crossing between the United States and Canada. Moroun bought the bridge from the Bower Family in 1979.

The bridge is now estimated to be worth between 1.5 and 3 billion dollars.[5] CenTra, Inc., is also the controlling body of Central Transport International, an LTL trucking carrier.[6] Moroun also has a controlling stake in Universal Truckload Services Inc., which is a holding company for several over-the-road truck lines and logistics companies (Universal Am-Can Ltd., Mason Dixon Lines, Economy Transport, Cavalry Logistics, Louisiana Transportation, Inc. etc.) Moroun is also the owner of the derelict Michigan Central Station for railroad passenger traffic.[7] A recent Forbes article listed him as the 321st richest American.[8]

Early life[edit]

Manuel Moroun is of Lebanese descent.[9] He grew up on Detroit's east side with three sisters. His father ran two gas stations in Detroit, where Matty worked before and during high school. Moroun attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, graduating in 1945.[citation needed]

In 1946, his father bought Central Cartage Company, which would later become Central Transport, and Moroun started working with him. During college, Matty regularly commuted between Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, and Detroit to help run the family business.[10]

Bridge ownership[edit]

Moroun bought the Ambassador Bridge in 1979 when shares came on the market. It was originally privately built by railroad interests.

In 2009, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) sued Moroun and the Detroit International Bridge Company for failing to comply with the terms of a contract to construct ramps connecting the Ambassador Bridge to nearby expressways as part of the Gateway Project. Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards ruled in February 2010 that Moroun and the chief deputy of the Detroit International Bridge Co., Dan Stamper, were in violation of the contract and ordered them to become in compliance. On 12 January 2012, Judge Edwards found both Moroun and Stamper to be in non-compliance with his previous order and ordered both men to jail, denying a motion to stay the order until it could be appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.[11][12] After spending a night in jail, both men were released by the appellate court while they heard the case.[13]

The US and Canadian governments have agreed to build the Detroit River International Crossing, a bridge between Detroit and Windsor to be located downriver. On 25 March 2010, Moroun announced a suit to try to block construction of the new bridge, as it would compete with his own proposal to build a second span of the Ambassador Bridge, which he would own.[14] Critics suggest that Moroun's opposition is fueled by the prospect of lost profits from duty-free gasoline sales at the bridge. These are exempt from about 60 cents per gallon in taxes although the pump price to consumers is only a few cents lower.[15]