In COLLINSVILLE, IL, the former owner of a demolished Collinsville hotel has reached a settlement with the Illinois attorney general to pay $30,000 for improper removal of asbestos from the building in 2005. Vithalbhai Patel had charges brought against him in June 2007 for allowing the removal of asbestos from his Howard Johnson Express Inn. The removal and handling of asbestos is a strictly regulated area of occupational safety. Exposure to asbestos is a known cause of lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. The Illinois Pollution Control Board has seen the filing of the $30,000 penalty against Patel from the Illinois Attorney General’s office. In AURORA, CO, the owner of a remodeling company was indicted with four felony charges for the improper removal and disposal of asbestos and trying to bribe a witness. The owner of Kingston Properties LLC, Richard Oliver, is alleged to have removed asbestos from four properties between January and May of 2008. According to the Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Oliver did this without informing his employees of the dangers, offering them protective gear, or obtaining the proper permits.
Oliver contends that the charges were made up by a disgruntled employee who was fired. Oliver points to tests showing no asbestos or traces of asbestos at any of the properties where the alleged removal took place. For the witness bribing charge, one of Oliver’s employees stated that he was offered payment to blame the contractor who filed a complaint against Oliver for improper removal of asbestos. If he is convicted in the Adams County District Court, Oliver might have to serve up to 18 years in prison. In BOZEMAN, MT, public input is being sought to determine the manner of cleanup for an asbestos-contaminated site located near the Bozeman Public Library. The site once stored asbestos material in the first half of the twentieth century. Now it is the subject of an addendum to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) initial 2002 plan for voluntary cleanup of the property. Any further cleanup efforts are projected to cost the city $438,000, and the DEQ would repay the city a portion of that amount. Those wishing to submit suggestions or comments on the situation have until January 18, 2009.