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.   

 

 


Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Corker Urges U.S. And Other Nations To Accelerate Efforts To Stop Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

Senator Bob Corker issued the following statement on Tuesday, after speaking with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah about the U.S. response to Ebola in West Africa. “As we address this problem, the most important thing for us to do is to contain and stop Ebola in West Africa, and for that reason, I talked with Administrator Shah to receive ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)

Mihaescu, March Win Region 3-A/AA Cross Country Titles

The weather wasn't quite as nice as it was last week, but it was still sunny and warm on Tuesday afternoon for the Region 3-A/AA cross country championships, which were held on a flat course at Camp Jordan in East Ridge. Sequoyah senior Danielle March was the female winner as she toured the 5K course in 21 minutes, 46 seconds to win by almost a minute over KiAnna Queener, ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)