Property Owner and Heating Contractor Arraigned for Allegedly Illegally Removing Asbestos From Medway Rental Property
DEDHAM — A property owner from Weston and a Plainville-based heating contractor have been arraigned in connection with the alleged improper removal of asbestos in a single-family rental property in Medway, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
David Einis, age 58, and Nicholas Pasquantonio, age 41, were each arraigned on two counts of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act for failure to file a notice of asbestos removal with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and failure to prevent asbestos emissions. Nicholas Pasquantonio was also arraigned on charges of witness intimidation. Einis and Pasquantonio were arraigned yesterday in Norfolk Superior Court where each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Pasquantonio was released with the condition that he not have contact with the victim of the alleged witness intimidation. Authorities allege the asbestos containing insulation was from heating pipes in an occupied Medway rental property owned by Einis, which was released when the boiler was being replaced by Pasquantonio.
According to authorities, in December 2010, Einis hired Pasquantonio of Johnny’s Oil Service, Inc., who is not a licensed asbestos contractor, to replace the boiler in the Medway property occupied by a family with several children. Pasquantonio allegedly did not seal off the basement while he worked to replace the boiler. After being notified by the Medway Board of Health a few days later, MassDEP inspected the site and allegedly found the improper removal and release of asbestos.
Authorities allege that Einis and Pasquantonio failed to notify MassDEP that they would be disturbing asbestos when replacing the boiler and did not follow the appropriate procedures to prevent asbestos emissions. The Department of Labor Standards requires that the removal of asbestos be performed by a licensed contractor, and pursuant to MassDEP regulations, contractors must provide notification of when the removal will occur and follow certain methods and standards for the safe removal, storage, and disposal of the asbestos throughout the abatement process.
Authorities also allege that when Pasquantonio became aware he might be charged criminally, he went to the property where the illegal asbestos removal had occurred and threatened one of the tenants not to testify against him.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell, and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. The Strike Force consists of prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who 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 Norfolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Einis and Pasquantonio on January 19, 2012. The defendants were arraigned in Norfolk Superior Court on March 12, 2012 at which time they each entered into a plea of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Pasquantonio was released with the condition that he not have contact with the victim of the alleged witness intimidation. The defendants are due back in court on May 1, 2012 for a pre-trial conference. Judge Kenneth Fishman presided over the arraignment.
Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer of AG Coakley’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, with assistance from officers of the Massachusetts Environmental Police and Gregory Levins of the Central Regional Office of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.