Abandoned Asbestos Leads to Fines for Weymouth Company

A complaint against C and O Enterprises and its president, George Clements, was filed by the Attorney General Martha Coakley in Suffolk Superior Court on March 20, 2009, for neglecting to pay $108,000 in fines from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Properties in Middleborough and Wareham were both the subjects of violations of environmental laws by the company, including improper disposal of dangerous materials such as asbestos. These materials were allegedly dumped at the properties, allegations not denied by George Clements, president of C and O Enterprises. Fines amounting to $108,000 were assesses on Clements, but attempts to collect them failed repeatedly, resulting in the complaint filed by the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Martha Coakly said of the complaint, “The law requires that individuals and companies properly dispose of hazardous materials.” Clements’ company is alleged to have dumped hazardous materials, including asbestos, at the sites in Middlesborough and Wareham.

Coakley asserted that, “Our office is committed to enforcing the law to protect the public health and safety of our environment and communities. When individuals fail to comply with environmental laws in the commonwealth, MassDEP may assess an appropriate fine. Our office will hold accountable individuals and companies who fail to comply with environmental regulations and who in bad faith fail to pay administrative fines lawfully assessed by MassDEP.” Clements was assessed an initial penalty to be paid to MassDEP for the illegal and dangerous dumping, but when he did not pay, the Attorney General’s office entered into the battle.

The penalty sought by the Attorney General’s office from Clements for nonpayment of the initial $108,000 fines to MassDEP is an amount triple that. George Clements or another representative from C and O Enterprises was unavailable for comment. The properties subject to the dumping were quickly cleaned up after the discovery of the asbestos and other hazardous materials on the sites.