Eagle Environmental


22 years ago

Nine defendants were indicted in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn. on Sept. 24 for violating various federal statutes from the alleged illegal removal of asbestos material in 1977. The defendants are: Melvin Weintraub of Purchase, N.Y. and his two companies, Morelite Development and Construction Inc., and Liberty Realty Associates LLC, both of Elmsford, N.Y.; Salvitore Napalitano and his company Ecco Construction Inc., both of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Robert Welsh and his company Miller River Environmental Corp., both of South Hadley, Mass; John Dawson of New Haven, Conn.; and Dominic Onofrio of Middletown, Conn. The defendants face various federal charges arising from the alleged illegal removal of asbestos-containing material while renovating a building in New Haven in 1997. Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napolitano, Ecco and Dawson are accused of causing untrained and unprotected workers to remove asbestos from boilers, piping and floor coverings at the building in New Haven, Conn. in violation ofthe Clean Air Act. They are also charged with causing asbestos filled garbage bags to be disposed of in various locations around New Haven.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. In addition, Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napolitano, Ecco, Onofrio, Welsh and Mill River Environmental are alleged to have caused a false asbestos abatement invoice, a false transportation and disposal manifest and a false asbestos air clearance analysis to be sent to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in October 1997. Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napalitano, Ecco and Dawson are also accused of conspiracy.

If convicted on all charges, the defendants face the following maximum sentences: Weintraub and Napalitano face up to 34 years in prison and/or fines of up to $2 million.; Dawson faces up to 32 years in prison and/or fines of up to $1.75 million; Welsh and Onofrio each face up to 2 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000; Morelite, Liberty and Ecco face fines of up to $4 million; and Mill River Environmental faces a fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.

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