Bryan Cohen Feb. 18, 2014, 2:30pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday her office is suing the owner of a former paper plant site in Lawrence, alleging he conducted illegal demolition and metal salvaging at the property.

David Padellaro and Merrimack Street Redevelopment Company LLC, a now-defunct company owned by Padellaro, allegedly conducted metal salvaging operations over the last few months despite warnings and administrative orders from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Padellaro allegedly conducted the operations without implementing legally-required safety measures such as wetting building areas to prevent asbestos from being released, monitoring the air and properly disposing of asbestos-containing waste material at the site.

On Thursday, the Suffolk Superior Court issued an order against Padellaro that prohibits the property owner from conducting further work at the property unless necessary for the authorized demolition of unsafe buildings.

"This site has put workers and the public at risk," Coakley said. "We are pleased that this order will help clean up the property in an environmentally safe way and allow it to be restored by the city for economic development."

The court order stops all demolition and salvage work at the site, except for a MassDEP-approved plan to complete demolition work at buildings damaged by fires. The plan is in accordance with all hazardous materials, waste cleanup and asbestos laws.

Coakley's lawsuit seeks civil penalties and costs incurred for the containment, assessment and removal of hazardous material at the site.

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