Final Defendant Sentenced in Kankakee Clean Air Act Prosecution
Urbana, Ill. – Michael Pinski, who previously pled guilty to violation of the Clean Air Act related to illegal and unsafe asbestos removal from a Kankakee, Ill., building he owned, has been sentenced. On Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey ordered that Pinski, 44, of Kankakee, Ill., serve six months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release including six months of home detention. Pinski was ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Feb. 20, 2013. On Aug. 19, 2011, Pinski entered a plea of guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to notify the Illinois EPA of an asbestos removal job that took place at a warehouse in Kankakee, Illinois that Pinski owned. Pinski was charged in June 2010, along with Duane “Butch” O’Malley, 60, of Bourbonnais, and James A. Mikrut, 50, of Manteno.
Mikrut, who pled guilty to five counts of violating the Clean Air Act, was sentenced on Sept. 20, 2012, to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by one year of supervised release under home detention. Mikrut was ordered to pay restitution of $47,085 to the Environmental Protection Agency along with co-defendant O’Malley. On July 25, 2012, O’Malley, convicted by a jury in September 2011, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, fined $15,000, and ordered to remain on supervised release for a period of three years following completion of his prison sentence.
Under provisions of the Clean Air Act, the EPA has promulgated rules, regulations and requirements to control the removal, handling and disposal of asbestos, a hazardous air pollutant. Any owner or operator of a renovation or demolition activity which involves removal of specified amounts of asbestos-containing material must comply with the EPA regulations.
Pinski pled guilty to violation of the Clean Air Act related to the illegal and unsafe removal of asbestos-containing insulation from pipes in a five-story building at 197 South West Ave., in Kankakee, that was owned by Pinski through his company, Dearborn Management, Inc. In August 2009, Pinski hired O’Malley, owner and operator of Origin Fire Protection. During O’Malley’s trial, the government presented evidence that neither O’Malley nor his company was trained to perform the asbestos removal work and that O’Malley agreed to remove the asbestos insulation for an amount that was substantially less than a trained asbestos abatement contractor would have charged to perform the work. Further, O’Malley arranged for Mikrut to recruit and oversee workers to remove the asbestos.
The government’s evidence showed that there was no notification of the planned asbestos removal work given to the Illinois EPA or the U.S. EPA, among other various violations of the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations.
The charges were investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James Cha prosecuted the case.
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