Former New Windsor Town Official And Contractor Plead Guilty To Negligent Release Of Asbestos

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES PETRO, the former Planning and Zoning Coordinator and Property Development Manager for the City of New Windsor, also RICHARD MCGOEY, the prior Town Engineer by arrangement to the City of New Windsor, each pled guilty today to one count of negligently causing the publishing of asbestos to the ambient atmosphere, thereby negligently putting other people from imminent danger of death and serious bodily harm.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss stated:”As they confessed in court now, James Petro and Richard McGoey chose to cut corners and do things on the cheap, soliciting bids for demolition work without revealing the land contained asbestos. The contract has been awarded to a builder unqualified to perform asbestos abatement work, and consequently Petro and McGoey jeopardized the health and security of the people they had a duty to protect.”

According to the allegations from the Informations to that PETRO and MCGOEY pled guilty along with other court records:

In or about 1999, the City of New Windsor (the”Town”) acquired 250 acres adjoining to Stewart Airport in the Department of the Army. The land comprised dozens of army barracks and other buildings which the Army had assembled in or about the 1940’s, when the land was a part of an Army Air Force base. These buildings comprised 10 buildings comprised on the parcel of property bordered by International Boulevard to the south east west, Reed Street to the north, Aviation Avenue to the east and Raz Avenue to the west (the”10 Buildings”).

When it obtained the 250 acres, the Town entered into an arrangement with a property developer (the”Developer”) pursuant to the Developer would rent the land and create it. In or about 2006 through in or about 2009, the Town applied for various government grants to abate the asbestos in some of the buildings around the 250 acres and also to demolish these buildings. PETRO and MCGOEY engaged with others in designing and preparing the grant software.

In or about May 2008, the Developer acquired a report by an asbestos inspector who signaled the 10 Buildings had asbestos-containing substance. The report said that any disturbance or abatement of the asbestos was obliged to be carried out by a certified contractor in compliance with state and federal regulations. PETRO and MCGOEY knew of the occurrence of the report before August 2015.

The Town originally asked bids from asbestos inspectors to conduct asbestos surveys of their 10 Buildings. PETRO, MCGOEY, along with many others determined asbestos surveys were unnecessary since the 10 Buildings had been studied in May 2008.

By May 2015 into June 2015, PETRO, MCGOEY, and many others hailed a request for proposals to demolish the 10 Buildings. This request for proposals didn’t disclose the existence of asbestos containing materials from the 10 Buildings but stated only the demolition substances have been disposed of according to federal, state, and local regulations. The Town printed this request for suggestions on or about June 5, 2015.

In July 2015, the Town granted the contract to demolish the 10 Buildings to Contractor-1, that had submitted the lowest bid of $262,000. Contractor-1 wasn’t a certified asbestos contractor also had limited experience with asbestos. Though Contractor-1 didn’t submit an application to abate the asbestos from the 10 Buildings or a asbestos clearance letter to the Town, the Town gave Contractor-1 licenses to demolish the 10 Buildings.

By August 11, 2015 during August 16, 2015, Contractor-1 along with his team hammered the 10 Buildings without removing the asbestos contained there by knocking on down the buildings using a backhoe, thus releasing the asbestos into the open air. In this time, both PETRO and MCGOEY visited the website while the buildings were knocked down.

PETRO, 68, of New Windsor, New York, and MCGOEY, 71, of Monticello, New York, each pled guilty to one count of negligently causing the release of asbestos to the ambient atmosphere, thereby negligently putting different individuals from imminent danger of death and serious bodily harm. This crime carries a maximum sentence of one year . The maximum possible sentences in this instance are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of PETRO and MCGOEY is going to be set by a judge.

The prosecution of the case has been managed by the Office’s White Plains Division.