EPA Expert Says Asbestos Handling At Old SCT Plant Could Have Caused "Death Or Serious Bodily Harm"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

An EPA expert testified Thursday in Federal Court in Chattanooga that sloppy handling of asbestos at the old Standard Coosa Thatcher plant in Ridgedale could have caused "death or serious bodily harm."

Tim Frederick acknowledged he got that phrase from government attorneys seekings jail terms for those involved in the 2003-2004 debacle that brought on a frenzied and expensive federal-led cleanup.

Judge Curtis Collier is expected to set the sentences for Don Fillers, James Mathis and David Wood when the hearing sometime after it resumes Friday morning. The hearing lasted all day Thursday with prosecutors and attorneys arguing over whether the sentences should be "enhanced."

Judge Collier ruled in favor of the defendants on several points on Thursday, limiting the range of their sentencing guidelines.

Authorities said earlier that Fillers faces a maximum 20 years and the other two defendants five years. 

The only attorney who spoke little at the hearing was former prosecutor Gary Humble, who represents Watkins Street Project LLC, the business name used by brothers Gary and Don Fillers to buy the defunct yarn mill in 2003. He told the judge the firm "is worse than broke. They're upside down on their mortgage."

Gary Fillers was also charged and he was given a six-month house arrest sentence early on in the case. He died a month ago at the age of 74.

Gary Fillers had given a statement in which he said buying the old mill was the idea of his brother, who operates Chattanooga Hardwood. He said his brother told him they could salvage items from the old mill and make a million dollars.

When they bought the mill "it was full of furniture, file cabinets and yarn. It was like they had closed the door and gone home," one attorney said.

The government charged that the Fillers brother spent as little as possible on hiring an asbestos removal firm and that much asbestos was left at the site. That was handled carelessly by workers under Mathis and Wood, it was charged.

Prosecutor Matthew Morris said untrained workers paid low wages handled asbestos by hand without any kind of protection, sometimes sweeping it up or tossing it from a second floor.

Defense attorneys argued there was no evidence that clouds of dust from the site contained dangerous asbestos fibers.   

 

 


1 Person Killed In Wreck On I-75 In Whitfield County

One person died in a crash on I-75 in Whitfield County on Saturday. The wreck happened near exit 348 in the southbound lane. Traffic was backed up for miles after the accident. (click for more)

Over $30,000 Of High-End Men's Clothing Stolen From Hardwick & Co. In Cleveland

Cleveland Police said over $30,000 worth of high-end men's clothing was stolen from Hardwick & Co on Oak Street. The burglary happened sometime Friday night. Items stolen included name brands such as British Belt Company, Dubarry Azores Shoes, Jack of Spades Pants, John Peter London Pants and button down Shirts, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Tailor Byrd Button Down Shirts. ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)

Gonsalves Earns First Double-A Win in 5-3 Victory Against Jackson

Left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves only allowed two runs on six hits while striking out six batters in five innings to earn his first ever Double-A win. The Lookouts 5-3 win was there second of the second half and improves their overall record to 38-35. For the last six weeks or more, many have been wondering when Gonsalves would be promoted to Double-A. Tonight, he made ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)