Saturday, June 16, 2007

Former East St. Louis Official Guilty of Environmental Violations in Building Demolition Case

Regular customers may have noticed the tall,vacant building a few hundred feet from our front door, The building, known as the Spivey Building, has some historic significance as the tallest building in southern Illinois. It was set for rehab a few years ago but sadly got caught in the middle of political corruption and EPA enforcement cases. If you read our previous postings on our recent closure, we told you about the money we spent on lawyers to force the clean-up of a collapsed building next door. The owners of building next door hired a demolition crew owned by a local politician people to clean up their property as well as ours. According to Robert Patrick's article in ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH on Saturday, Jun. 16 2007
" A former local political boss faces the possibility of 15 or
more months in prison — on top a 21-month sentence for election fraud — after
admitting Friday that he committed federal environmental violations.
Charles Powell Jr., former East St. Louis councilman, St. Clair County Board
member and head of the Democratic Party in East St. Louis, pleaded guilty in
U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to a conspiracy charge and a charge of
failing to notify authorities before removing asbestos.
Powell admitted that he had been hired to renovate the Spivey Building, at 417
Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, and that he had hired a man named Isaiah
Newton, court documents say.
Although both men knew the building contained asbestos, they improperly removed
and disposed of hundreds of feet of asbestos-covered pipes and other
asbestos-containing material in early 2002, documents say...Workers, who were paid in cash, threw building materials out the windows, scattering debris down Missouri Avenue, and were told to lie and tell anyone who asked that they were not tearing out walls and removing pipes, the indictment says.
Prosecutors agreed not to charge Powell for "activities concerning violations of the Clean Air Act for demolition procedures at the Roy Weiss Building . . . and the facility at 17th and Broadway (sometimes referred to as the 'Cahokia Common Fields')," both located in East St. Louis."