Boston Real Estate Company and Owner Indicted on Illegal Asbestos Removal and Disposal Charges
Defendants also face tax, payroll, and unemployment insurance charges
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments yesterday against JM Realty, a Boston-based real estate development and management company on charges of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act for failure to file notices of asbestos removal with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) (4 counts), failure to comply with procedures for asbestos emissions control (4 counts), and improper disposal of asbestos waste (3 counts). JM Realty was also charged with failure to withhold income tax (4 counts). McGrail was indicted on charges of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act for failure to file notices of asbestos removal with the MassDEP (3 counts), failure to comply with procedures for asbestos emissions control (3 counts), and improper disposal of asbestos waste (2 counts). JM Realty and McGrail were also each indicted on charges of evasion of unemployment insurance (4 counts) and failure to provide pay records (4 counts).
Authorities allege that, for three years between 2005 and 2007, McGrail, the principal of JM Realty and the founder of a group of businesses known as the Mayo Group, instructed his employees to perform demolition and renovation services at three different Mayo Group properties in Lynn, Boston, and Worcester that had asbestos containing materials, including insulation, tiles, mastic, glazing and other building components. Authorities allege that asbestos containing materials were transferred to a warehouse at 177 Old Colony Avenue in South Boston, and thereafter distributed in dumpsters at various Mayo Group properties around Boston to be picked up with the regular trash. According to authorities, construction debris containing asbestos was also dumped at a vacant lot on Bubier Street in Lynn. None of these locations was permitted for the disposal of asbestos waste.
Authorities further allege that McGrail and JM Realty 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. Authorities also allege that during the relevant time period, McGrail personally instructed his employees to pay workers in cash to remove and dispose of the asbestos containing materials. JM Realty allegedly failed to withhold taxes, make unemployment insurance contributions, or provide pay stubs for the workers.
The indictments stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), an interagency unit which is overseen by Attorney General Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles. ECSF officials involved in this investigation included Environmental Police Officer Sgt. Patrick Haley, and MassDEP officials John Macauley and Don Heeley. The ECSF comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General's Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP which investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state's water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against McGrail and JM Realty yesterday. McGrail and JM Realty will be summonsed for arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on April 2, 2010.
Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Rainer and David Lieberman, of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force, are prosecuting the case.