Two Men Arraigned on Illegal Asbestos Removal Charges
The charges stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General's Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP.
Authorities allege the defendants directed workers to demolish parts of buildings at 21 East St. in North Attleboro and 888-896 North Main St., in Attleboro ("Cameron Woods") despite the fact that asbestos had not been removed. It is alleged that a consultant for the company had conducted a full asbestos survey of the building, as required, but the company did not properly remove asbestos from the site before it began demolition or renovation work.
Authorities allege that inspectors from MassDEP inspected the properties in North Attleboro and Attleboro in September of 2007 and discovered evidence that floor tiles, piping, and other debris from the demolition was covered in asbestos, a known carcinogen. In the course of the investigation, MassDEP inspectors inspected a storage facility in Middleboro and discovered 76 cardboard drums containing tiles and pipe insulation that tested positive for asbestos.
Authorities further allege that each of the Amarals violated the Massachusetts Clean Air Act by failing to notify MassDEP of asbestos demolition, failing to follow mandated asbestos removal procedures during the demolition and renovation, and improperly disposing of asbestos waste.
This case was investigated by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), which is overseen by Attorney General Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles. The ECSF investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm or threaten the state's water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
A Bristol County Grand Jury returned the indictments against the defendants on June 17, 2009. The defendants were arraigned today in Bristol Superior Court. Both defendants are due back in court for a pre-trial conference on September 2, 2009.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, chief of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force, is prosecuting the case. Environmental Analysts Joseph Leary and Andrew Cooney, and Attorney Daniel d'Hedouville, from MassDEP's Southeast Regional Office, investigated the case.