New Jersey contractors indicted on asbestos chargesNew Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced recently that two demolition contractors have been indicted on charges of illegally removing asbestos from a hospital site and using untrained employees to complete the work.
According to a press release from the Chiesa's office, Frank J. Rizzo and Michael Kouvaras of Deuteron Capital, LLC, were indicted over work they supervised at the former Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in the town of Riverside, New Jersey.
From August 2010 to March 2011, the two contractors were accused of using untrained day laborers - including halfway house inmates - to remove the asbestos from the hospital as part of the demolition process. The two men were also accused of directing the workers to bury some of the asbestos in the ground and dump bags of the carcinogenic material on the floor of a boiler room.
"These men knew there was asbestos throughout this old hospital and knew the real dangers involved in removing it, but we allege that they put their monetary self-interest ahead of the health and safety of their workers and the surrounding community," Chiesa said in a statement. "They are charged with serious crimes, including second-degree offenses that carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison."
The health risks Chiesa refers to include the potential development of asbestosis, lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the tissues surrounding a majority of the body's internal organs.
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