Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed five felony charges in Chelan County Superior Court today against a Cashmere man and his asbestos abatement business.
Timothy Powell and his business, A1 Asbestos LLC, are accused of providing false asbestos waste shipment records to an Okanogan County landfill, including forging signatures on one of the documents. Powell and A1 Asbestos are also accused of offering false statements to the state Department of Labor & Industries about the start dates of asbestos abatement work in an attempt to avoid worksite safety inspections.
“Strict rules governing the disposal of asbestos waste exist to protect workers and the public, and they must be followed,” Ferguson said.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Before a landfill will accept general construction waste, contractors must provide proof from an asbestos abatement contractor, such as A1 Asbestos, that the waste does not contain asbestos. The abatement contractors remove asbestos and dispose of it, properly and safely contained, at landfills and provide an asbestos waste shipment record to contractors as proof that their construction waste has been cleared of asbestos.
Powell is accused of falsifying Okanogan County waste shipment records on several occasions to inaccurately show that he properly disposed of asbestos waste at a different landfill in Grant County.
Disposing of asbestos waste is more expensive than disposing of general construction waste. The false documents allegedly allowed Powell and his business to avoid some of the costs of asbestos disposal by combining asbestos waste from multiple job sites and only paying one disposal fee.
Powell and A1 Asbestos have been charged with:
- Four counts each of offering a false instrument for filing or record;
- One count each of forgery.
Both charges are class C felonies with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine plus costs, fees and restitution.
The Chelan County Superior Court has scheduled a preliminary hearing on the charges for Jan. 9.
The Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case at the request of the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office. Assistant Attorney General Josh Choate is leading the case.
Ferguson has made prosecuting environmental crimes a priority of his administration. Since 2013, he has brought environmental prosecutions leading to 19 criminal convictions, and restitution orders in excess of $900,000.