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 and the owner of CenTra, Inc., the holding company which controls the Ambassador Bridge.[3][4] The latter is significant as it is the only private ownership of a border crossing between the United States and Canada. He bought the bridge from the Bower Family in 1979. It 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 in itself 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.[7] A recent Forbes article listed him as the 321st richest American.[8]

Early life[edit]

Moroun is of Lebanese descent.[9] He grew up on Detroit's east side with his three sisters. His father ran two gas stations in Detroit, where Matty worked before and during high school. During his sophomore year (1946), his father bought Central Cartage Company, which would later become Central Transport. During college, Matty would regularly commute between South Bend, Indiana, and Detroit, Michigan, to help run the family business.[10]

Moroun attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, graduating in 1945.[citation needed]

Bridge ownership[edit]

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 indeed 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 later released by the appellate court while they heard the case.[13]

On 25 March 2010, it was announced that Moroun would sue the US and Canadian governments over the Detroit River International Crossing. He sought to block construction of the new bridge as it would compete with his own proposal for a second span of the Ambassador Bridge, which he would also own.[14] Critics suggest that Moroun's opposition is fuelled by the prospect of lost profits from duty-free gasoline sales, which are exempt from about 60 cents per gallon in taxes even though the pump price to consumers is only a few cents lower.[15]