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August 18, 2018

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

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