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Asbestos incident leads to $850,000 judgment against owner

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Apr 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

A Jefferson County judge has ordered Arthur David Sugar and several of his affiliated companies to pay an $850,000 civil penalty resulting from the improper demolition of the former Weirton Steel facility in Steubenville and the subsequent asbestos contamination.

"Asbestos is widely known to be a dangerous, cancer-causing material which must be abated in any demolition," Attorney General DeWine said. "The aggressive penalty issued against the defendants in this case shows that endangering Ohioans by failing to properly manage asbestos will not be tolerated."

Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese imposed the sanctions against Arthur David Sugar, Sr.; David Sugar Excavating, LLC; Honey Creek Contracting, Inc.; Excavation Technologies Inc.; and ADS Leasing.  The Court found that in 2004 the defendants began the demolition of the former Weirton Steel facility and committed "massive violations," including violating regulations regarding asbestos removal procedures and failure to notify Ohio EPA of asbestos removal.

In 2010, Sugar and Ohio EPA reached an agreement for preliminary injunction regarding clean-up of the site.  In 2011, Sugar and Honey Creek pleaded guilty in United States District Court to one count of conspiracy and four counts of violating the Clean Air Act rules related to the proper removal and handling of asbestos. A trial was held in 2012 in the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas regarding liability for these and other violations, including causing a public nuisance, which resulted in the $850,000 civil penalty. A hearing will be held on April 12th on costs, attorney fees, and to determine further injunctive relief.

"As attorney general, I take my role in protecting the health and safety of Ohio families very seriously," DeWine said. "I will continue to work with Ohio EPA to make sure Ohio's laws regarding asbestos are enforced across the state."

A copy of the lawsuit is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website.

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