The ALMR and its members take regulatory compliance seriously. Unfortunately, from time to time we hear about mismanagement and fraud in our industry and it hurts everyone. We have pointed out in the past that there are people out there who will take your money and claim to recycle, and then not do it, leaving you and the government stuck with the cleanup.
We are reprinting the following article with the permission of the Chicago Tribune. We hope that any generator of spent lamps will thoroughly check out potential contractors. Any ALMR member company welcomes your inquiry, or contact the ALMR or a state agency for information.
For the record, the company and its owners discussed in this article have never been part of the ALMR; they never provided us with any evidence of compliance to satisfy our membership criteria. They will have their day in court and hopefully, any contamination will be cleaned up- in the meantime, we urge you to make sure you know who you are dealing with.
This article is reprinted with permission of the Chicago Tribune
EPA fines light bulb recycler $743,000
Agency says firm left Riverdale warehouse contaminated with mercury
By Ray Gibson, Tribune reporter 9:57 p.m. CDT, May 6, 2010;
Federal officials are seeking a $743,000 fine against a recycling business that left a Riverdale warehouse contaminated with high levels of poisonous mercury from fluorescent light bulbs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.
The proposed fine against River Shannon Recycling comes after the village of Riverdale shut down the operation in 2008. It had operated without the necessary permits for two years in the village and had thousands of fluorescent light bulbs, some of which were broken, improperly stored in the facility.
In seeking the large fine, the EPA said the warehouse was actually a hazardous waste site and operated without the required permit.
Last month, the Illinois attorney general’s office won an $88,000 judgment against the firm in Cook County Circuit Court for its alleged misuse of two economic development state grants that were supposed to be used to expand the company’s recycling business.
River Shannon owner Laurence Kelly, who has until May 24 to request a formal hearing on the EPA complaint, issued a statement on Thursday but declined to discuss details.
“We look forward to this matter being resolved,” Kelly said. “We are confident we will be vindicated in the end.”
While River Shannon was operating, among its clients were the city of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Commonwealth Edison. The university paid the firm $66,000 until reports about the company’s questionable operation were reported by the Tribune, and then all three clients stopped doing business with the company.
Kelly was convicted in federal court in 1981 for paying bribes to Cook County tax authorities. He served a three-year prison term.
Meanwhile, a federal grand jury has been investigating the firm’s operations, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.
The investigation follows the Tribune reports that the former owner of the warehouse, who is imprisoned on federal fraud charges, said he paid bribes in order to allow the recycling operation to start up. Lee Anglin, who has pleaded no contest to the fraud charges, said he was questioned at the Metropolitan Correctional Center by FBI agents.