A Colorado man has been sentenced to a four-year community corrections term and must pay more than $300,000 in restitution after releasing loose asbestos into the air when he improperly demolished his house.
According to a press release from Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers, Thomas K. Tienda improperly demolished his Pueblo home by not hiring properly licensed personnel, or getting any of the proper demolition permits – including ones that ensure any asbestos products are safely removed and appropriately disposed of – before moving forward with the process.
Instead, Tienda hired homeless individuals to perform demolition work on the house, which resulted in the airborne release of dangerous asbestos fibers. Instead of safely disposing of the asbestos products, Tienda was also suspected of reusing some asbestos-contaminated materials following the demolition as well.
“There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos,” said Lori Hanson, special agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Colorado. “The defendant not only employed unsafe asbestos removal practices but tried to cover up his illegal actions. Today’s sentence should send a clear message that the EPA will continue working closely with our state enforcement partners to prosecute those who violate the law and place their private gains over the public’s well being.”
The asbestos exposure case that followed wsa prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General in cooperation with the Pueblo District Attorney’s Office. The Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force, the Air Quality Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigations Division also assisted in the case.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by asbestos exposure, contact Sokolove Law today to learn more about pursuing an asbestos lawsuit.