Man at Center of NY Asbestos Case Fired

The Cayuga County (NY) employee who’s been the centerpiece of an ongoing investigation alleging illegal asbestos removal was fired late last week from his job at the county’s Buildings and Grounds Department. The same day, arguments in a small claims case brought against him by the county were being heard in a local court of law.

According to an article in The Post-Standard, Chick admitted in U.S. District Court to conspiring to violate the federal Clean Air Act while supervising the removal of asbestos from the county Board of Elections building. Sentencing we’ll take place in February and Chick could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Chick, 65, of Auburn, had been on administrative leave since Dec. 26, 2006, stemming from allegations that he replaced personal tools at the county’s expense. However, the county listed eight reasons for his dismissal last week, including the asbestos issue.

• He lied on his employment application.
• He directed employees to remove asbestos and lied to them about the substance.
• He took and sold copper piping.
• He denied employees’ requests for proper equipment for asbestos removal.
• He purchases tools without the proper authority.
• He lied to county employees.
• He stated on the employment application that he had a high school diploma when he
only finished 10th grade.
• He received a check for $300 and did not turn it over to the county.

“Frankly, from the asbestos case on down, I’ve been the scapegoat for the county,” John M. Chick said after the day’s proceedings had concluded last week. “Everyone’s throwing blame at me.”

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