Eagle Environmental

WASHINGTON DEVELOPER PLEADS GUILTY TO DIRECT TEENAGER TO ILLEGALLY REMOVE ASBESTOS

20 years ago

On March 30, Gundhart Fleischer plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle to two counts of violating the Clean Air Act. The offenses occurred in June and July of 1977 when asbestos-containing material was improperly removed from the Seavue Theater in Blaine, Wash. Fleischer, president of Voyager’s Landing Corp. and owner of the Seavue, obtained bids which indicated that the proper abatement of asbestos-containing material within the Seavue would cost $150,000- $200,000. Instead of paying the costs of proper asbestos removal, Fleischer failed to report the asbestos to the local air authority and hired a nineteen year-old laborer without telling him he was working with asbestos, without wetting the asbestos down to prevent it from being inhaled and without providing respiratory protection for the young worker. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” When sentenced, Fleischer faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of up to $250,000 on each count. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Washington State Department Of Ecology’s Environmental Crimes Unit.

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