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October 21, 2018

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases


Beccles Library.
Beccles Library.


Monday, February 16, 2015

8:55 AM

New figures have revealed how victims of asbestos-related diseases have been paid more than £200,000 in compensation from councils around the region over the past five years.

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Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p>” width=”465″ src=”/polopoly_fs/1.3957364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_490/image.jpg” /><em>Great Yarmouth High School.<br />
December 2013.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</p>
<p></em></div>
<p>And local authorities have acknowledged potentially deadly asbestos is still present in scores of schools, homes, libraries, fire stations and other council properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.</p>
<p>While councils stress the substance is not a risk to health if left undisturbed, compensation has been paid to former council workers who developed asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, after they were exposed to the dust during their employment.</p>
<p>Mesothelioma is a lung cancer which kills nearly 50 people a week in the UK. It is caused by exposure to specks of asbestos, which used to be used as coatings and insulation.</p>
<p>According to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there were 713 deaths from mesothelioma in Norfolk between 1981 and 2011; 593 in Suffolk; and 332 in Cambridgeshire.</p>
<div id=

What is mesothelioma?

-Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can develop in the tissues covering the lungs or the abdomen.

-Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, is in the tissue covering the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma is in the lining of the abdomen.

-Symptoms include pain in the chest or lower back, shortness of breath, a fever or night sweats, abdominal pain, unexplained fatigue, no appetite and weight loss.

-More than 2,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and men are five times more likely to be diagnosed than women.

-Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a soft, greyish-white material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire.

-The outlook for mesothelioma is poor because it is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma will die within three years of being diagnosed, and the average person survives for around 12 months.

-Every year in the UK, there are around 2,300 deaths from the condition and it is estimated that, by 2050,

90,000 people in the UK will have died as a result of mesothelioma.

Figures revealed council compensation payments for asbestos-related diseases since 2009 included three former Norwich City Council workers. A 65-year-old received £156,000 in 2009, while a 78-year-old and a 60-year-old received £35,300 and £10,700 in 2010. A 2012 claim by a 79-year-old has yet to be decided.

Other payments were to a former West Norfolk Council worker who repaired prefabricated council houses, who received more than £2,700 and just over £9,400 to an ex-Waveney District Council housing maintenance worker. There were no claims in Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk or North Norfolk, while two claims to Great Yarmouth Borough Council were not successful. Cambridgeshire County Council has had four claims since 2009, of which one was successful, while Suffolk County Council has had three claims, of which two are ongoing.

One of those claims is from a former Suffolk pupil who claims to have developed the condition while at one of the county’s schools.

Norfolk County Council has received seven claims since 2009, for a total of just under £15,000. The council refused to reveal how many claims had been successful or how much had been paid.

Which buildings contain asbestos?

Council-owned Norfolk and Suffolk buildings which have been found to have asbestos:

-County Hall, Norwich

-Castle Museum

-Strangers’ Hall

-Wensum Lodge

-Sprowston High School

-Great Yarmouth High School

-Benjamin Britten High School, Lowestoft

-Cromer Fire Station

-Wymondham Fire Station

-Acle Fire Station

-King’s Lynn Library

-Beccles Library

-Brundall Library

-Swaffham Library

-Diss Register Office

-Thetford Register Office

But a spokesman did say it had spent more than £2m over the past five years to remove materials which contain asbestos from its buildings.

Dozens of schools, libraries, fire stations, Norwich Castle and County Hall itself, all contain such materials, the council confirmed.

Derryth Wright, health safety and wellbeing manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “The HSE states that asbestos does not pose a risk to health when it is intact and in good condition, and our programme of work reflects this position.

“All of our schools have had a survey undertaken to identify and assess the condition of asbestos containing materials (ACM).”

Norwich City Council says 2,327 properties, including council houses, are identified as having low-risk types of asbestos, such as in some types of Artex or vinyl floor tiles.

A spokesman said it was “highly unlikely to release asbestos fibres in normal use” but that there were plans for removal in 636 properties.

Are you taking legal action after developing an asbestos-related disease? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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    New figures reveal compensation for deadly diseases

    Sheldon Silver Arrest Shows The Seamy Side Of Asbestos Litigation

    Federal prosecutors unsealed a criminal complaint against New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, detailing long-rumored allegations about how a prominent asbestos law firm steered millions of dollars to the powerful politician in exchange for client referrals from a doctor, who in turn is accused of accepting favors from Silver.

    The 35-page complaint by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York accuses Silver of accepting more than $5.3 million in payments from Weitz & Luxenberg, a New York law firm that specializes in asbestos lawsuits. Silver is also accused of obtaining the money in exchange for client referrals from an unnamed doctor in Manhattan who is cooperating with prosecutors under non-prosecution agreement. The doctor is accused of receiving substantial benefits from the Speaker, including $500,000 in grants for his mesothelioma research clinic and a job for a family member at a state-funded non-profit.

    The complaint accuses Silver of using his office to obtain “referral fees” in exchange for little or no actual legal work, and failing to report some of them on his personal finance statements. He obtained more than $500,000 in fees from another law firm specializing in real estate appraisal appeals, prosecutors said. No one in Silver’s office was immediately available for comment.

    It has long been known that Silver earned hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from Weitz & Luxenberg, but under New York’s lax reporting rules he wasn’t required to say exactly how much or what he did for the money. Today’s complaint provides more detail, showing how the extraordinarily lucrative business of suing over asbestos generates enough fee income to finance “research grants” to doctors who refer clients back to them.

    Citing records pulled by the state’s short-lived Moreland Commission as well a a federal investigation, prosecutors say Silver parlayed his relationship with the physician identified as “Doctor-1″ to funnel clients to Weitz & Luxenberg in exchange for 33% of the firm’s take on any case. The doctor is further identified as running a mesothelioma research center at a major university, and having received a commendation from the Assembly in May, 2011.

    Dr. Robert Taub runs the Columbia University Mesothelioma Center and received a commendation in May 2011, He was until 2013 affiliated with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, whose major supporters include asbestos attorney Peter Angelos. Taub hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing and wasn’t immediately available for comment.

    According to the complaint, Silver met Doctor-1 through a mutual friend. The doctor had never referred patients to Weitz & Luxenberg because they didn’t fund mesothelioma research, the complaint says. Soon after learning that Silver had joined the firm in 2002, the doctor asked him if Weitz & Luxenberg would start funding research.

    Silver told him he should start referring his patients to the firm, prosecutors say, and that state funds were available for his research. (New York allocated $8.5 million a year to a discretionary fund, controlled by Silver, for healthcare grants, until that fund was discontinued in 2007.) Seven weeks after the doctor made his first referral to Weitz & Luxenberg, records show, he made a $250,000 grant request to the state. The letter was addressed to Silver. On July 5, 2005, Silver directed a $250,000 grant to the doctor’s mesothelioma center. The letter said the money would be for mesothelioma research including on the effects of the Sept. 11 catastrophe in Silver’s district, but didn’t mention the client referrals Silver was getting.

    See the original post:  

    Sheldon Silver Arrest Shows The Seamy Side Of Asbestos Litigation

    Parts of US Capitol closed after asbestos accident

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An accident involving asbestos work forced a temporary closure of the House side of the Capitol on Thursday and prompted House leaders to delay the day’s session for two hours.

    No injuries were reported. The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., Capitol Police said.

    A handful of workers were removing insulation containing asbestos from around pipes and valves on the building’s fourth floor, above a staircase, said a congressional official who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    On-site samples and another sample analyzed by an outside lab revealed low enough asbestos levels that officials decided the building was safe to reopen, the official said. Those samples revealed levels similar to what is found in typical buildings in Washington, said the official, who did not provide any figures.

    By midmorning, most of the building had reopened and Capitol tours on the House side had resumed. The Senate, at the other end of the 751-foot-long building, seemed unaffected by the incident.

    The East Grand Staircase, which runs from the first floor to the third floor inside the House side of the building, was blocked off and more than a dozen workers and officials spent much of the day examining the area. Also closed was the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Room, a third-floor room near that staircase that was named for the late speaker and Massachusetts Democrat.

    The House began the day’s session at noon instead of 10 a.m. because of “an industrial accident,” according to a statement from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Even so, by midmorning a handful of tourists was sitting in the visitors’ gallery, observing an otherwise empty chamber.

    The Senate began its session as scheduled at 10 a.m.

    The office of the architect of the Capitol said in a statement that engineers and certified industrial hygienists had decided the building was safe to reopen and that the staircase would remain closed indefinitely.

    Construction of the main, center section of the Capitol began in 1793 and was finished in 1826.

    As the country grew and more lawmakers joined Congress, a south wing for the current House chamber and a north wing for the Senate were built. Both were completed in 1868, along with a new, larger dome.

    The architect’s office has been repairing decaying plaster throughout the building. It has also started preparations for a project to repair the 8.9 million pound, cast iron dome.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

    Originally from – 

    Parts of US Capitol closed after asbestos accident

    Workers Exposed to Lead and Asbestos, Olivet Management Fined $2.3M

    Real estate developer Olivet Management LLC, which owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., has been fined $2.3 million.

    Bing Maps

    Olivet Management LLC, a real estate development and management company that owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., faces a total of $2,359,000 in proposed fines from OSHA, which cited the company for exposing its own employees, as well as employees for 13 contractors, to asbestos and lead hazards during cleanup operations in preparation for a tour of the site by potential investors.

    “Olivet knew that asbestos and lead were present at this site, yet the company chose to ignore its responsibility to protect its own workers and contractors,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The intolerable choice this company made put not only workers, but also their families, in danger.”

    A statement from Olivet Management said the company “has been working together and cooperating with OSHA and other agencies to ensure that our employees work in a safe and healthful workplace.”

    An inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office was launched Oct. 23, 2013 in response to a complaint. The inspection found that Olivet employees and contractors allegedly were exposed to asbestos and lead while performing renovation and cleanup activities. The work, which was directed and overseen by Olivet supervisors, included removing: asbestos- and lead-contaminated debris; asbestos-containing floor tiles and insulation; and lead-containing paint from walls, windows, door frames and other painted surfaces.

    OSHA determined that Olivet “knowingly” failed to take basic safety precautions. The company neither informed their own employees nor the contractors about the presence of asbestos and lead, despite knowing that both hazards existed. As a result, Olivet did not:

    • Train employees in the hazards of asbestos and lead and the need and nature of required safeguards;
    • Monitor workers’ exposure levels;
    • Provide appropriate respiratory protection; post notices, warning signs and labels to alert workers and contractors to the presence of asbestos and lead; or
    • Provide clean changing and decontamination areas for workers, many of whom wore their contaminated clothing home to households with small children.

    As a result of these conditions, Olivet was cited for 45 alleged willful violations, with $2,352,000 in proposed fines. Twenty-four of the willful citations address instance-by-instance exposure of workers to asbestos and lead hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

    Olivet was also issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to inform waste haulers of the presence of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, meaning asbestos from the site may have been disposed of improperly at an unknown location. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

    Olivet Speaks Out

    Olivet Management said it is reviewing the notice and will address the citations in a timely manner.

    “We have the same goals as OSHA, to insure that once construction and renovation work is commenced, all workers will be fully protected against any unsafe and unhealthful working conditions,” said the statement from the company. “Furthermore, being new to New York State, we are grateful for the direction we have been given by both state and federal agencies in helping us move forward with our long term commitment to bring economic development, stability and vibrancy and new jobs to the area in the most effective and efficient manner as possible.”

    Olivet said it will be taking a close look at the extensive citations and penalties that OSHA issued “in the hope of working with the agency to resolve them.”

    Due to the willful violations found at the site, Olivet has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.

    Renovation and cleanup activities can generate airborne concentrations of asbestos and lead. Workers can be exposed to both through inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer. While lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system.

    In January, EPA ordered Olivet to stop all work that could disturb asbestos at the facility. EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

    The company said it will work “with all affected parties to revitalize these many acres of property which have been unused and remain in their original condition when the state of New York closed all state hospitals facilities 20 years ago.”

    Olivet Management said it plans to continue moving forward on the project and is “committed to for the long term.”

    Olivet has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

    Original post: 

    Workers Exposed to Lead and Asbestos, Olivet Management Fined $2.3M

    Veterans call for end to asbestos lawsuit bill

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Veterans opposed to a bill affecting asbestos-exposure lawsuits in Wisconsin urged Gov. Scott Walker on Monday to stop the measure, arguing that it would deny justice to asbestos victims.

    The heavily lobbied proposal would require plaintiffs who have suffered from asbestos exposure to reveal how many businesses their attorneys plan to sue. They would also have to go after money from an asbestos trust before they could sue for more in court.

    Proponents, including Wisconsin’s chamber of commerce and Republican sponsors, argue the bill is needed to prevent filing multiple claims against both trust funds set up to pay victims of asbestos exposure as well as individual businesses.

    Opponents who gathered Monday strongly disagreed.

    “If you think that the bill is protecting the rights of victims, it is not. It is about protecting corporations,” said a tearful Renee Simpson, state commander of the Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars. She held up a picture of her dad, a U.S. Army veteran, who died in 2013 nine months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

    The Senate passed the bill last week on a narrow 17-16 vote. A similar version previously passed the Assembly and it’s expected to pass again Thursday, the last day of the session, which would send it to Walker.

    Walker said Monday in Milwaukee that he has heard from veterans on both sides of the issue, and he’s waiting to see what happens in the Legislature.

    “I haven’t looked at the particulars of the bill, but as I understand it, it’s really about keeping trial attorneys from double dipping,” Walker said when asked about the issue.

    The issue has divided veterans. Steve Chesna, state commander of AMVETS, sent a letter in January supporting the bill, saying it will ensure that “valuable resources are not depleted by unscrupulous lawyers convincing clients to double and triple dip for one individual for one claim.”

    That concern over plaintiffs suing both businesses and the trust funds in order to maximize their awards has been the rallying cry of proponents from the beginning, said Jason Johns, legislative officer for the Wisconsin Military Order of the Purple Heart.

    But under changes made to the bill by the Senate “there’s no way to hide a claim,” Johns said. The bill now requires those bringing a lawsuit to disclose within 30 days whether they are also seeking money from a trust, Johns said.

    The bill originally required there to be a six-month delay before a trial could start, after a claim was stated, but the Senate removed that. Now it is all about disclosing multiple claims, said its sponsor, Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend.

    “I don’t know what anyone would object to,” he said.

    Asbestos, a building material linked with cancer and other health problems, has been the subject of lawsuits awarding billions of dollars in damages. As health concerns became clearer, and the number of lawsuits swelled, companies forced into bankruptcy because of asbestos litigation transferred their assets and liabilities to trusts established to pay current and future asbestos victims.

    At least 100 companies have gone into bankruptcy in part from liabilities tied to asbestos, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report. There are 60 asbestos trusts, with about $37 billion in assets, according to the GAO report.

    Credit:  

    Veterans call for end to asbestos lawsuit bill

    Essex firm faces $125K fine in asbestos case

    BOSTON — An Essex-based demolition company has been ordered by the state Attorney General’s Office to pay up to $125,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations of improper handling and disposal of asbestos during the demolition of a building in Worcester.

    According to the complaint, filed Thursday with the consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, McConnell Enterprises Inc. — a state-licensed asbestos removal contractor that is headquartered on Icehouse Lane in Essex but has its equipment yard in Braintree — uncovered piping wrapped with asbestos insulation during demolition of Worcester’s former Crompton and Knowles building in 2011. The material was left hanging three stories above the ground, putting workers and others in the area at “risk of contact with harmful fibers” for an extended period of time, the AG’s office claims.

    A spokesman from McConnell’s Essex office did not return a phone message Friday seeking comment.

    State Attorney General Martha Coakley, in a prepared statement, said the case is one she is taking seriously.

    “Our office takes the mishandling of asbestos very seriously because of the health effects,” Coakley said. “Companies working with asbestos-containing materials must be held to the highest standards of care as ordered under our state air laws and regulations.”

    The complaint further alleges that McConnell also failed to follow proper notification procedures, preventing the state Department of Environmental Protection from conducting appropriate oversight of the company’s asbestos removal activities.

    “Licensed asbestos contractors are fully aware of the removal, handling, packaging and storage requirements that must be followed when dealing with asbestos-containing materials and of the requirement to provide notification to MassDEP in advance of this work,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following the rules is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public and environment. Failure to do so will result in significant penalty exposure, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

    The AG’s office alleges that, in order to secure payment under its demolition contract with the city of Worcester, McConnell falsely certified that it had complied with the applicable laws and regulations, violating the Massachusetts False Claims Act. The complaint also alleges various violations of the commonwealth’s air pollution prevention statute, its asbestos regulations, and its solid waste management statute and regulations.

    Under the settlement, McConnell must pay $82,500 in civil penalties to the commonwealth and another $42,500 in civil penalties if it fails to conform to waste regulations over the next 18 months, according to a statement from the AG’s office.

    More – 

    Essex firm faces $125K fine in asbestos case

    Asbestos Measure To Get Rare Vote

    The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure to cut down on alleged fraud in the beleaguered multi-billion-dollar asbestos bankruptcy trust system.

    It’s the first time an asbestos measure has made it to the floor of a chamber of Congress in nearly two decades, according to lobbyists pushing for the bill. Past measures aimed at the trust system have fizzled.

    The measure, dubbed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2013, would amend federal bankruptcy law to require dozens of asbestos trusts to publicize information about the claims they’re paying out.

    The trusts are giant pots of money that exist to compensate people who say they were injured by asbestos products made by companies that have since sought bankruptcy protection. The flood of asbestos lawsuits has led more than 40 companies into bankruptcy court.

    Claimants only collect pennies on the dollar of what they’d earn if the companies were solvent, but the amount of money the trusts pay out collectively is huge. At the end of 2010, they paid about 3.3 million claims valued at $17.5 billion, according to a 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office report. Plaintiffs’ attorneys get a cut of the payments to their clients.

    Some critics allege fraud can result when people file claims against one trust blaming it exclusively for their asbestos disease, then make the same claims to other trusts as well as to solvent companies in court. Because trusts keep claims information secret, no one is usually the wiser. We wrote about the alleged fraud in the system as part of a series on asbestos litigation. The other stories are here and here.

    Plaintiffs’ attorney associations and some asbestos victims oppose the measure, saying any requirements to offer more information about claims will bog down the system and delay payments to rightful victims who may only have weeks to live.

    The measure’s supporters, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, emphasize that cutting down on alleged fraud will save money for future victims of asbestos exposure. Cancer and other disease caused by inhaling fibers from the mineral used in fireproofing can take decades to show up. Asbestos is not banned in the U.S., though its use is somewhat regulated.

    The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R., Texas), said at a hearing earlier this year the trusts aren’t “limitless, bottomless pits of money.”

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    Asbestos Measure To Get Rare Vote

    House approves legislation that requires more disclosures about claims from asbestos trusts

    WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday voted to tighten disclosure requirements from asbestos trusts set up more than 20 years ago to help pay billions of dollars in injury claims.

    By 221-199, the House approved a measure requiring asbestos trusts that pay damages to current and future asbestos victims to publish detailed quarterly reports with bankruptcy courts. The information must include names of new claimants and how much money the trust has paid out, under the legislation.

    House Republicans say the bill — backed by the business community and the Chamber of Commerce — would provide oversight to asbestos trusts and ensure funds are available for future victims.

    Most House Democrats opposed the measure, citing privacy concerns. The bill is likely to die in the House. The Democratic controlled Senate has no plans to take up the bill and the White House on Tuesday said President Barack Obama would veto it.

    Asbestos, a building material linked with cancer and other health problems, has been the subject of lawsuits awarding billions of dollars in damages. As health concerns became clearer, and the number of lawsuits swelled, companies forced into bankruptcy because of asbestos litigation transferred their assets and liabilities to trusts established to pay current and future asbestos victims.

    At least 100 companies have gone into bankruptcy at least in part from liabilities tied to asbestos, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report. There are 60 asbestos trusts, with about $37 billion in assets, according to the GAO report.

    Republicans say those trusts are ripe for fraud because of scant disclosure requirements.

    Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, who wrote the bill, said more oversight is needed to prevent people from filing claims with multiple trusts, or fraudulent claims. Trusts are in danger of running out of money if nothing’s done, he said.

    “We’ve got to protect this for future generations,” Farenthold said. “We simply ask that we know who is getting what out of these trusts.”

    Democrats said the bill would subject asbestos victims to new privacy concerns because their name and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers would be public under the law.

    “Every crook in the world with Internet access could use this information,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.

    See original article here: 

    House approves legislation that requires more disclosures about claims from asbestos trusts

    Willow Grove businessman charged with illegal asbestos removal

    David Mermelstein, 53, of Elkins Park, was indicted Aug. 27 following a grand jury investigation on five counts of illegal removal of asbestos, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

    In April 2001, Mermelstein, who owns a business in Willow Grove, purchased a large, old furniture warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia, which he operated under the name of Red, White and Black Furniture, at 10175 Northeast Ave., according to the indictment. Insulated pipes that ran throughout the building were covered with insulation made of or containing asbestos, it says.

    The indictment alleges that from September 2009 through April, 2010, after learning the cost of proper asbestos removal, Mermelstein hired day laborers instead of licensed asbestos contractors to remove asbestos from the commercial property. Mermelstein directed the removal of asbestos by these laborers without telling them they were removing asbestos and without proper safety equipment and “in a manner that did not comply with asbestos work practice standards” required by federal law, the indictment says.

    If convicted, Mermelstein faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $1.25 million.

    The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Philadelphia’s Air Management Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virgil B. Walker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Miller.

    David Mermelstein, 53, of Elkins Park, was indicted Aug. 27 following a grand jury investigation on five counts of illegal removal of asbestos, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

    In April 2001, Mermelstein, who owns a business in Willow Grove, purchased a large, old furniture warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia, which he operated under the name of Red, White and Black Furniture, at 10175 Northeast Ave., according to the indictment. Insulated pipes that ran throughout the building were covered with insulation made of or containing asbestos, it says.

    The indictment alleges that from September 2009 through April, 2010, after learning the cost of proper asbestos removal, Mermelstein hired day laborers instead of licensed asbestos contractors to remove asbestos from the commercial property. Mermelstein directed the removal of asbestos by these laborers without telling them they were removing asbestos and without proper safety equipment and “in a manner that did not comply with asbestos work practice standards” required by federal law, the indictment says.

    If convicted, Mermelstein faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $1.25 million.

    The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Philadelphia’s Air Management Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virgil B. Walker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Miller.

    View original article:

    Willow Grove businessman charged with illegal asbestos removal

    Willow Grove man charged with illegal asbestos removal

    David Mermelstein, 53, of Elkins Park, was indicted Aug. 27 following a grand jury investigation on five counts of illegal removal of asbestos, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

    In April 2001, Mermelstein, who owns a business in Willow Grove, purchased a large, old furniture warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia, which he operated under the name of Red, White and Black Furniture, at 10175 Northeast Ave., according to the indictment. Insulated pipes that ran throughout the building were covered with insulation made of or containing asbestos, it says.

    The indictment alleges that from September 2009 through April, 2010, after learning the cost of proper asbestos removal, Mermelstein hired day laborers instead of licensed asbestos contractors to remove asbestos from the commercial property. Mermelstein directed the removal of asbestos by these laborers without telling them they were removing asbestos and without proper safety equipment and “in a manner that did not comply with asbestos work practice standards” required by federal law, the indictment says.

    If convicted, Mermelstein faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $1.25 million.

    The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Philadelphia’s Air Management Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virgil B. Walker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Miller.

    David Mermelstein, 53, of Elkins Park, was indicted Aug. 27 following a grand jury investigation on five counts of illegal removal of asbestos, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.

    In April 2001, Mermelstein, who owns a business in Willow Grove, purchased a large, old furniture warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia, which he operated under the name of Red, White and Black Furniture, at 10175 Northeast Ave., according to the indictment. Insulated pipes that ran throughout the building were covered with insulation made of or containing asbestos, it says.

    The indictment alleges that from September 2009 through April, 2010, after learning the cost of proper asbestos removal, Mermelstein hired day laborers instead of licensed asbestos contractors to remove asbestos from the commercial property. Mermelstein directed the removal of asbestos by these laborers without telling them they were removing asbestos and without proper safety equipment and “in a manner that did not comply with asbestos work practice standards” required by federal law, the indictment says.

    If convicted, Mermelstein faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years imprisonment and a fine of $1.25 million.

    The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Philadelphia’s Air Management Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Virgil B. Walker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Miller.

    Continued:  

    Willow Grove man charged with illegal asbestos removal