DOVER — M&E Jespersen Realty, LLC; Holgate Limited Partnership; Harrington Irrevocable Trust and William Hopkins Jr. have agreed to a $110,000 settlement of charges of improper asbestos removal to settle a lawsuit in Strafford County Superior Court, state officials said.
The contractor who did the demolition and disposal, Michael J. Davis, d/b/a Do It All Davis, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The state won a default judgment against Davis when he failed to appear in Superior Court.
The state alleged the parties failed to give prior notice before taking down a former commercial building at 125 Stark Ave., in Dover, and improperly moved asbestos-laden waste to local landfills.
Davis didn’t answer the state’s charges in court, K. Allen Brooks, senior assistant attorney general, said. “He has been found to have admitted by default all of the things we’ve alleged and the remaining issue is how much is he going to be penalized?” Brooks said.
The state is asking the bankruptcy court to treat the superior court judgment separately from Davis’ other debts and to allow it to collect any fines assessed later from Davis’ future earnings.
“Whether we actually find any money, nobody knows,” Brooks said.
M&E Jespersen Realty purchased the property from the Holgate Limited Partnership run by the Harrington Irrevocable Trust and William Hopkins.
The state also alleged that the defendants knew or should have known that the building contained a significant quantity of asbestos because they had obtained an environmental report prior to demolition.
Approximately 10,000 square feet of asbestos, predominantly in roofing material and mastic floor tile, was left in place as the building was demolished, and waste containing asbestos was sent to several disposal facilities, according to a press release.
Only one of them, the Turnkey Waste Management Facility in Rochester, was qualified to accept such waste, but the waste sent to Turnkey was not properly packaged or labeled, creating the possibility of improper handling and subsequent exposure to Turnkey personnel or the public, the state said.
Asbestos fibers have been linked to a significant increase in diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.