Two Former Municipal Officials Plead Guilty in Asbestos Abatement Matter

On February 18, two former officers of this town of New Windsor, New York, pleaded guilty to charges of negligently causing the discharge of asbestos throughout the 2015 demolition of former Army barracks in Stewart International Airport.

The convictions of both guys in the S.D.N.Y. under the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7413(c)(4), appear from the work on soliciting bids for demolition work without revealing the land contained asbestos. The pleas of guilty and convictions stage to the substantial effects both government officials and building contractors can confront when performing building work without adherence to state and federal environmental laws. It’s notable that the part of the Clean Air Act under which both men were charged just needs evidence under a negligence standard.

Back in June of 2012, James Petro, then the Planning and Zoning Coordinator and Property Development Manager for New Windsor, and city engineer Richard McGoey were one of city officials that discussed the need to prepare a request for bids to abate asbestos in and twenty-six buildings which were part of a former military site obtained by the town from the United States Army.

Though they had originally asked bids from asbestos inspectors to conduct asbestos surveys from the ten structures, they finally determined that asbestos crimes were unnecessary since the ten buildings had been studied and found to have asbestos.

In 2015, Petro and McGoey were one of city officials that hailed a request for proposals to demolish the ten buildings. The Request for Proposal didn’t disclose the existence of asbestos-containing materials.

In July of 2015, the city awarded the contract to demolish the ten buildings into an undercover contractor. That contractor wasn’t a certified asbestos contractor also had limited experience with asbestos. The contractor didn’t submit an application to abate the asbestos from the ten structures.

Throughout a half day period in August of 2015, the contractor demolished the ten structures, without removing the asbestos, by knocking down the buildings using a backhoe. The two Petro and McGoey visited the website while the buildings were knocked down.

In announcing the charges and pleas of guilty, the authorities emphasized its finding that in the center of the illegal behavior by both guys was their urge to cut corners and do things on the cheap. As mentioned previously, the part of the Clean Air Act under which both men were charged and convicted simply needs evidence under a negligence standard.