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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Friday, August 8, 2014

Man Sentenced for Being an Accessory After The Fact to a False Statement Under the Clean Air Act Related to Kensington Towers project


BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul announced today that Brian Scott, 34, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., who was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of being an accessory after the fact to a false statement under the Clean Air Act, was sentenced to one year probation by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was employed by JMD Environmental, Inc. (JMD) as an air sampling technician and a project monitor, and was certified by the New York State Department of Health to conduct asbestos project monitor and air sampling duties. From June 9, 2009 to January 11, 2010, co-defendants Johnson Contracting of WNY, Inc. (Johnson Contracting), Ernest Johnson, and Rai Johnson, conducted asbestos abatement activities at six buildings at the Kensington Towers Apartment Complex in Buffalo. During the abatement process, co-defendant Rai Johnson created daily project logs to document the progress at Kensington Towers. The logs are documents required to be maintained under the Clean Air Act.

During the abatement for building A-1 by Johnson Contracting, Rai Johnson wrote in his daily project log that all asbestos-containing floor tile had been removed from the building, when in truth, all asbestos floor tile had not been removed. Thereafter, on July 7, 2009, the defendant conducted a visual inspection of building A-1 for floor tile and issued a satisfactory visual inspection, when in truth, the defendant was aware that all asbestos-containing floor tile had not been removed. In doing so, the defendant acted as an accessory after the fact to the false statement made by the Johnson defendants.

This is the second defendant to be sentenced as part of the Kensington Towers asbestos abatement project. In addition to Ernest and Rai Johnson, other defendants who have been convicted include JMD project monitors Evan Harnden and Chris Coseglia and current and former public officials responsible for certifying the project’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including Donald Grzebielucha, William Manuszewski, and Theodore Lehmann. The remaining defendants will be sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara.

“Our environmental laws are designed to protect not only those who live near projects like the Kensington Towers, but also those who work to remove the dangerous asbestos from such sites” said U.S Attorney Hochul. “Those who take short cuts in cleaning up environmental sites or assist in the cutting of corners will be brought to justice for the safety of not only residents but those directly involved in the cleanup.”

“To fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment, EPA must work with information that is accurate and truthful,” said Vernesa Jones-Allen, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in New York.  "The health dangers associated with asbestos are well documented and authorities must be certain that contaminated materials are disposed of properly, as prescribed by law.”

The conviction was the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge, William V. Lometti; Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Brian P. Boetig; Special Agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Rene Febles; and Investigators of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, BECI, under the direction of Captain David Bennett.  Additional assistance was provided by the New York State Department of Labor, Asbestos Control Bureau.
Updated November 19, 2014