Unlicensed asbestos removal business, owners indicted

Source: Salem News (MA), March 22, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The owners of an unlicensed Lynnfield asbestos removal business and an employee have been indicted on charges of violating state environmental and wage laws, including while working on projects in Beverly and Marblehead.

The business, which calls itself AEI Environmental LLC, is based out of owners David Harder Jr. and Julie Rosati’s Lynnfield home, and was hired to do asbestos removal on a number of projects, including the demolition of the former Mayflower Hotel on Cabot Street in Beverly, and removal of asbestos at Marblehead’s Village School and Tedesco Country Club, court documents show.

The company also conducted asbestos removal at a number of public schools in Lynn as well as that city’s public library and a fire station.

The indictments, handed up Friday afternoon by an Essex County grand jury, allege that Harder and Rosati, and a third person, employee Luiz Dias, 43, of Pelham, N.H., broke numerous laws.

Harder and Rosati, as well as the firm, are charged with multiple counts including the state’s Clean Air and Solid Waste laws, as well as evading unemployment insurance taxes. Dias was indicted on charges that he filed false statements regarding the origin of the asbestos.

Officials in the state’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, which is consists of prosecutors in the attorney general’s office, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the office of the Energy and Environmental Affairs secretary began investigating the firm last September.

Investigators had received information that Harder and Rosati were illegally storing bags of asbestos at Simply Self Storage on Route 1 in Lynnfield.

They subsequently found hundreds of bags of asbestos-laden debris in a storage locker, prosecutors said.

Harder would convince other companies to file the paperwork required by the DEP before asbestos is removed, stating that the work would be done by a different firm.

Harder, Rosati and Dias also allegedly falsified documents concerning safety procedures on sites.

Further investigation revealed that the company was failing to make unemployment insurance payments to the state for its employees, according to the indictments.

The indictments allege that the company and its owners failed to file the required notice with the DEP while working at the Mayflower site in November 2009, at the Village School in January 2010 and at the Tedesco Country Club in March 2010.

There are no allegations that the company failed to take safety precautions at those sites.

However, the indictments do allege that in Lynn, the company failed to take precautions to prevent emissions of asbestos on several job sites, including the Lynn Public Library.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, in a press release announcing the indictments, stressed the need for proper handling and reporting of asbestos removal.

“It is extremely important that companies and individuals adhere to the guidelines for reporting, removing and disposing of asbestos,” said Coakley. “Our office is committed to upholding the law to protect people from being exposed to this dangerous toxin.”

DEP Commissioner Keneth Kimmell said the indictments send a “clear message” that officials are prepared to “fully investigate and prosecute those who endanger public health in order to save money.”

All three are scheduled to be arraigned on April 4 in Salem Superior Court.

Efforts to reach Harder and Rosati were unsuccessful.

The Lynnfield business has no connection to AEI Consultants, a national environmental consulting and remediation firm, spokeswoman Kristen Laschinger confirmed yesterday.

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