Valley businesses fined $850K over demolition of steel plant

Staff report


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that a Jefferson County judge has ordered Dave Sugar of New Middletown and several of his affiliated companies to pay an $850,000 civil penalty resulting from the improper demolition of the former Weirton Steel plant in Steubenville and the subsequent asbestos contamination.

“Asbestos is widely known to be a dangerous, cancer-causing material which must be abated in any demolition,” said DeWine. “The aggressive penalty issued against the defendants in this case shows that endangering Ohioans by failing to properly manage asbestos will not be tolerated.”

Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese imposed the sanctions against Arthur David Sugar Sr.; David Sugar Excavating LLC of Petersburg; Honey Creek Contracting Inc.; Excavation Technologies Inc.; and ADS Leasing.

The court found that in 2004 the defendants began the demolition of the former Weirton Steel facility and committed “massive violations,” including those regarding asbestos removal procedures, and failed to notify Ohio EPA of asbestos removal.

In 2010, Sugar and the OEPA reached an agreement for a preliminary injunction regarding cleanup of the site.

In 2011, Sugar and Honey Creek pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy and four counts of violating the Clean Air Act rules related to asbestos removal and handling. A trial took place in 2012 in Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas regarding liability for those and other violations, including causing a public nuisance, which resulted in the $850,000 civil penalty.

A hearing is set for April 12 on costs, attorney fees, and to determine further injunctive relief.

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