Real Estate Investment Firm Arraigned On Illegal Asbestos Removal Charges

Worcester, MA (CompNewsNetwork) - The Mayo Group Development LLC, areal estate investment, development, and management company headquartered in Boston, was arraigned today in Worcester Superior Court on charges it violated the Clean Air Act for failure to file notices of asbestos removal with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) (2 counts), failure to comply with procedures for asbestos emissions control (2 counts), and improper disposal of asbestos waste (1 count). At arraignment, the Mayo Group entered a plea of not guilty.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General's Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP. Authorities allege that the Mayo Group used its own employees to demolish parts of Worcester Commons, a ten-story building located at 50 Franklin Street, and failed to conduct a full asbestos survey of the building and properly remove asbestos from the site  before it began demolition or renovation work. Authorities also allege that residents were living in the building while workers were demolishing structural elements that contained asbestos, a known carcinogen.

Investigators allege that in February 2007, MassDEP employees observed demolition debris being thrown out of a window at Worcester Commons. A subsequent inspection conducted by authorities resulted in the discovery of impacted asbestos containing material within the building and in a waste pile and disposal trailer on the property's premises. Authorities also allege asbestos from the site was scheduled for disposal at a landfill that was not a designated site for the disposal of asbestos waste.

MassDEP issued a cease and desist order in the spring of 2007 following an inspection that found impacted asbestos containing material on the second floor of the building, but authorities allege that unauthorized asbestos removal continued in other parts of the ten-story building where residents continued to reside, posing a risk to both residents and the workers involved. 

Authorities further allege that the Mayo Group violated the Massachusetts Clean Air Act by failing to notify MassDEP of asbestos demolition, failing to follow mandated asbestos removal procedures during the demolition and renovation, and improperly disposing of asbestos waste.

A Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against the Mayo Group Development LLC, on January 23, 2009.  The Mayo Group is due back in court for a pre-trial conference on April 9, 2009.

This case was investigated by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), which is overseen by Attorney General Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles. The ECSF investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm or threaten the state's water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.

Assistant Attorney General Wendoly Ortiz Langlois, of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Crimes Strike Force, is prosecuting the case.

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