Manuel Moroun (born June 5, 1927) was an American billionaire businessman, and the owner of CenTra, Inc, which controls the Ambassador Bridge, the international crossing connecting Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, the only privately owned border crossing between the US 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. CenTra, Inc., is also the controlling body of Central Transport International, an LTL trucking carrier. 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 the former owner of the Roosevelt Warehouse and of Michigan Central Station. On June 11, 2018, Matthew Mourun confirmed the transfer of possession and sale of the Central Train Station and the warehouse to Ford A 2008 Forbes article listed him as the 321st richest American.
1 Early life
2 Bridge ownership
3 Michigan Central Station
4 Personal life
Manuel Moroun was born in Detroit, of Lebanese descent. 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.
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 the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and Detroit to help run the family business. He graduated in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, physics and biology.
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. After spending a night in jail, both men were released by the appellate court while they heard the case.
The US and Canadian governments have agreed to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge, a bridge between Detroit and Windsor to be located downriver and to be funded entirely by the Canadian government. All tax revenues from tolls from the Gordie Howe bridge are to be granted to Canada for the next 50 years after construction completes. This is in contrast to the tolls collected on the Ambassador Bridge which are subject to United States taxes and given to Detroit. Critics suggest that Moroun's opposition is fueled by the prospect of lost profits from duty-free gasoline sales at the bridge.
Ed Arditti, of the online news site Windsor Square suggested the appointment of Mark R. McQueen to the new Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority was intended to anger the Moroun family. McQueen had been the executive assistant to Hugh Segal, Brian Mulroney's chief of staff, when the Mulroney government had a dispute with Moroun.
Michigan Central Station
Main article: Michigan Central Station
Moroun owned Michigan Central Station from 1995 until selling it to Ford Motor Company in 2018. Moroun and his family have faced criticism for failing to invest in the property over its years of ownership, leading to a significant amount of decay within the property and generally contributing to the "urban blight" character that enshrouded Detroit for much of the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century.
He was married, with one child, and lived in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. He died of congestive heart failure on July 13, 2020.
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