Owner of three closed motels facing $225,000 fine from Ohio EPA for repeated pollution

Owner of three closed motels facing $225,000 fine from Ohio EPA for repeated pollution

Source: The Akron Beacon Journal, October 26, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The owner of three now-closed motels in Northeast Ohio would pay a $225,000 fine to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency under a proposed consent decree.

Jitendra Kapasi of Kent could get that fine reduced to $125,000 if he pays $100,000 within 24 months, under the agreement that is pending before Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas A. Teodosio.

The fine stems from illegal pollution from three motels owned by Kapasi: the Hilltop Motel on Ravenna Road in Hudson, the Palms Motel on state Route 14 in Streetsboro and the Gateway Motel on state Route 5 in Trumbull County’s Braceville Township.

The EPA has charged Kapasi with illegally discharging untreated and improperly treated sewage into Ohio waters without a state-issued permit.

The agency charged that Kapasi created and maintained a public nuisance, violated state water-quality standards and failed to connect to a public sanitary sewage system.

The three motels have been closed since 2010 under court order for repeated environmental violations.

The complete public notice on the proposed consent decree including instructions for requesting information or submitting comments may be obtained at www.epa.ohio.gov/legal/notice.aspx or by contacting Hearing Clerk, Ohio EPA, P.O. Box 1049, 50 W. Town St., Columbus, OH 43216, 614-644-2129, hclerk@epa.state.oh.us. The public has from Monday until Nov. 27 to comment on the proposed seven-page agreement.

In late 2010, Kapasi forfeited ownership of the Hudson motel and was sentenced to two one-year prison terms, after he pleaded guilty to two drug charges.

He was sentenced by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty on felony charges of aggravated drug trafficking and drug trafficking. The sentences were to be served consecutively.

On May 7, 2010, Kapasi and another man, Bryan Gagat of Kent, were arrested by Hudson and Twinsburg police and the Metro SWAT team on charges of selling prescription drugs.

Agents seized about 150 pills, including Vicodin, oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet and methadone, officials said.

The arrests followed a three-month undercover investigation of drug dealing at the motel.

Gagat pleaded guilty to a charge of trafficking in marijuana and was sentenced to six months in prison.

The city of Hudson acquired the motel from Kapasi and it was later razed, city officials said.

That order did not cover the other two motels.

The agreement includes penalties should Kapasi fail to comply.

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