More Fines in New York Asbestos Case

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In the continuing saga of illegal asbestos removal at the Cayuga County (NY) Board of Elections, yet another fine of $5,000 has been issued and county officials hope this will be the last.

According to an article in the Auburn Citizen, the Cayuga County Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee voted to pay the fee at a meeting held earlier this week rather than contesting it. This $5,000 fine was levied by the state Department of Labor. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has also fined the county over asbestos issues.

The controversy began in 2007, when the Department of Labor cited the county for four violations linked to the illegal removal of asbestos at the Board of Elections building in March 2006. “The county erred when it failed to contract a licensed asbestos removal professional, conduct air tests and properly clean the work area,” states the article.

Several individuals were questioned about the illegal removal. The supervisor of the asbestos abatement project, Mr. John Chick, has already pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Indoor Air Act. His trial was held last fall and he is currently awaiting sentencing, which is set to occur on February 20, 2008.

The article points out that payment of this last fine should signify the end of all government action in regards to the asbestos removal fiasco. However, the county government faces potential lawsuits from individuals who claim they were exposed to asbestos during the illegal abatement process and are suffering the ill effects of exposure.