Ohio AG announces $850,000 judgment against demolition company owner

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 9, 2013

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a judgment Friday against the owner of a demolition company and several of his affiliated businesses to pay $850,000 to resolve allegations of asbestos contamination.

Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese issued an $850,000 civil penalty against Arthur David Sugar, ADS Leasing, Excavation Technologies Inc., Honey Creek Contracting Inc. and David Sugar Excavating LLC for allegedly engaging in improper demolition of the former Steubenville-based Weirton Steel Facility and subsequently contaminating the area with asbestos.

In 2004, the defendants began demolishing the former Weirton Steel facility and allegedly committed significant violations related to asbestos removal procedures.

"Asbestos is widely known to be a dangerous, cancer-causing material which must be abated in any demolition," 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."

Sugar and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement in 2010 for a preliminary injunction related to cleaning up the site. Sugar and Honey Creek pleaded guilty in 2011 in U.S. District Court to four counts of violating the Clean Air Act and one count of conspiracy. In 2012, the defendants stood trial for liability issues and other violations, including causing a public nuisance. The trial resulted in the $850,000 civil penalty.

A hearing will be held on Friday related to attorney fees, costs and other 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."

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