NY Contractors Indicted in Asbestos Case

Two men associated with a general contracting firm based in the town of Chili, New York, near Rochester, have been indicted on charges of illegal asbestos removal and lying to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to an article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Keith Gordon-Smith, president of Gordon-Smith Contracting, and David Vega Jr., a project manager, have been accused of exposing employees to asbestos during a demolition project at the former Genesee Hospital in nearby Rochester.

According to court records, the indictment states that Gordon-Smith, 50, and Vega, 28, both residents of Rochester, demanded employees remove copper piping and other materials from ceilings at the hospital during a project that took place last winter and spring, even though they knew asbestos was present. In addition, Gordon-Smith and Vega are accused of lying to an OSHA inspector about the incident.

Two months ago, Gordon-Smith’s company was ordered to pay $100,000 in federal fines. However, this indictment carries the potential of additional fines of $250,000 for each defendant and a maximum of five years in prison. The company faces an addition half-million dollars in fines as well, according to U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn of the Western District of New York.

Genesee Hospital is currently being redeveloped as a mixed-use urban center.

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