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Attorney General Takes Action Against Contractors for Mishandling Asbestos; Seizes Vehicles, Makes Arrest
December 04, 2023
LANSING – Last week, the Attorney General took action against two contractors for separate offenses related to mishandling asbestos in demolition projects at various sites in southwest Michigan.
On Wednesday, November 29th, special agents from the Department of Attorney General coordinated a multi-location property seizure operation, authorized by court order, to satisfy a civil monetary judgment against a Southfield corporation used to improperly handle and dispose of asbestos materials and other hazardous waste, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The Ingham County Circuit Court previously found that corporation, Metropolitan Environmental, LLC, along with its owner, Lamar Grace, 52, of Southfield, liable for operating an illegal dump in a Southfield community and storing asbestos and other hazardous waste there. This latest ruling against Metropolitan Environmental came after years of noncompliance with environmental laws and failure by the LLC to address past Court judgments.
The Court ordered a money judgment against both Metropolitan Environmental, LLC and Mr. Grace personally in the amount of $125,000 each, and authorized law enforcement officers to seize personal and corporate property to satisfy those judgments. Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Officers as well as officers from the Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division provided valuable support and participation in the seizure operation. Local law enforcement officers from Southfield and Romulus joined efforts and were prepared to provide further assistance on request.
“Environmental laws protect Michiganders from exposure to dangerous air pollution and hazardous waste,” said Nessel. “My office is committed to enforcing our State’s environmental protections, especially when violations endanger the health and safety of our neighborhoods or communities. When we appeal to the Courts for accountability, we do so prepared to take all necessary steps to secure appropriate justice, including property seizures."
In 2022, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) sued Metropolitan Environmental LLC, Mr. Grace, and Simply Construction and Excavation, LLC, a related LLC, which no longer has a valid mailing address, for violations of air quality and materials management provisions of the NREPA by operating an unlicensed solid waste dump and improperly storing hazardous waste at the site, located in a residential neighborhood. EGLE’s site investigation and waste sampling identified that the unlicensed dump stored solid waste from at least 18 demolition sites, each of which contained asbestos materials, and other types of hazardous waste. The property reverted to the city of Southfield when Grace failed to pay his taxes, and subsequently a neighborhood group removed and properly disposed of 7,500 cubic tons of solid waste accumulated at the site, at the group’s own expense. EGLE provided assistance in assuring that the site was cleaned and ready for re-use.
The State seized the following corporate assets yesterday and will have them auctioned to generate proceeds towards the judgment:
- 2014 Ford F-250 truck;
- 2007 Mack 600 semi-truck; and
- 2006 International 700 dump truck.
In a separate matter, on November 30th, Special Agents from the Department of Attorney General arrested Alfred Darwin Saylor, 69, of Clawson, Michigan, the owner of A.L. Saylor Excavating and Demolition, LLC, for failing to appear before the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County for a hearing related to a judgment against his company for improperly demolishing asbestos-containing properties. The Court issued a $40,000 judgment against the LLC in March of this year for demolishing buildings containing asbestos materials in a manner noncompliant with State asbestos handling requirements, including failing to thoroughly inspect for asbestos and failure to notify EGLE before demolitions in Detroit and Melvindale.
These inspection and reporting requirements are meant to ensure proper measures are taken to prevent asbestos contained in building material and subsequent demolition waste from becoming airborne and threatening public health. EGLE filed affidavits in the case alleging the company’s involvement in similar violations at several other locations throughout southwest Michigan, including Livonia, Roseville, and Southfield.
Following his Thursday arrest, Saylor is scheduled to appear before the Court for a debtor’s examination December 7th.