Tag Archives: Shands

HUD Helps Banks Unload Koppers Toxic Homes

23 Aug

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is selling Dioxin-Arsenic-PAH contaminated houses in Gainesville Superfund neighborhoods- and failing to disclose the dangerous contamination to unsuspecting low income families buying these toxic homes.
As established residents abandon the homes that have made their families sick, banks foreclose on the Koppers health hazard homes. Homeowners contact their lenders who have knowingly sold them non-disclosed contaminated homes, seeking cooperation with exit strategies for their families’ safety. The banks immediately respond with foreclosure.
Since federal regulations prohibit banks from dealing in contaminated properties, they need a back door to discard these Superfund homes. These banks, including Wells Fargo, BOA and JP Morgan, having already profited from financing and foreclosing on the toxic housing, wash their hands of this PR nightmare by “transferring” the deadly domiciles to HUD for disposal. In response to residents’ questions about the sale of hazardous homes, HUD states that they routinely sell contaminated houses with impunity because they are not required to disclose. Taxpayer-funded HUD oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Selling toxic homes to low income families contradicts HUD’s published directives to protect consumers and improve their quality of life.
Unprincipled local realtors knowingly sell Gainesville Superfund homes on HUD’s behalf. The City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions have warned realtors including Bosshardt, Watson Realty and MM Parrish/Coldwell Banker against selling Koppers contaminated properties without providing the legally (and morally) required disclosure to potential homebuyers and renters. But upset new homeowners and renters are still reporting that Koppers contamination was not disclosed to them. Several of these families are already moving out of the area.
Many Gainesville Koppers contaminated homes sold by HUD were previously independently tested. These test results were submitted as evidence in foreclosure court records, and are public documents. Test results for some contaminated homes, including the addresses below, can be found on the Clerk of Court Public Record. Some of these contaminated foreclosed homes have already been sold without disclosure.
514 NW 31st Lane
3507 NW 4th Street
501 NW 28th Avenue
514 NW 33rd Avenue
425 NW 37th Avenue

Will Residents Lose Their Rights With Neighborhood Topsoil Removal Plan?

16 Feb

On February 6, 2014 Maria Parsons told the City Commission about Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents’ concerns that by agreeing to participate in Beazer East, Inc/EPA’s topsoil replacement plan- at any time before, during, and/or after the soil replacement process- they are signing away their rights to take any possible future legal action that may be needed involving the polluter or any other responsible party for ongoing contamination and toxic exposure from Koppers chemicals.

Mrs. Parsons asked the Commission to confirm or deny these concerns in writing, and to provide a copy of all agreement forms, contracts, releases and/or waivers that residents must sign in order to participate in the soil replacement plan.  The Commission directed Mr. Murry to obtain and forward the requested information and documents to her.  Mrs. Parsons has not heard from Mr. Murry yet. Farinda O’Steen asked the city for this information several months ago and is still waiting for their response, as are other concerned residents.

Residents also need to know whether deed restrictions will be placed on their properties and exactly what that entails.

Homeowners in and near the contantly-changing topsoil replacement zone would be wise to have any documents they receive pertaining to Beazer East Inc/EPA’s plan reviewed by an attorney before signing them.

GAINESVILLE RESIDENTS REJECT FRAUDULENT SOIL TEST RESULTS

19 Jun

We the victims of Koppers Gainesville, one of the Nation’s oldest and most toxic Superfund Sites, outright reject AMEC’s soil sampling due to these facts:

Trees absorb contaminants from adjacent soils, thereby lowering the toxin levels in those soils.  Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents saw employees of AMEC- also known as MACTEC- break soil collection protocol by taking samples from soil immediately next to tree-trunks.  And, in the months prior to soil collection, residents saw new soil added to several properties where soil samples were later collected.

Worse, many residents witnessed AMEC employees diluting soil samples.  They were seen performing the following actions:

1.     Placing clean soil from a potting soil bag into a stainless steel mixing bowl
2.    Collecting a small scraping of soil from a resident’s yard using a trowel
3.     Adding the collected soil to the clean potting soil in the mixing bowl
4.     Very vigorously mixing the two soils
5.    Placing some of the resulting soil mixture into a sample jar
6.    And pouring the remaining soil mixture onto the ground.  Homeowners witnessing this   action called neighborhood representatives and asked them to come out to see for themselves.  The representatives that responded also witnessed these actions.

AMEC employees were seen repeating this process at properties throughout the neighborhood.  Their tampering renders Beazer East’s soil testing inadmissible.   We do not accept Beazer East’s fraudulent test results.  Our families need out of the dioxin, PAH, arsenic contaminated homes that are making us sick.

Willingness to accept counterfeit test results and Beazer East & EPA’s “raw deal” for Gainesville families is inhumane.  Decades of collusion and negligence at every level of government has allowed Gainesville to become a Toxic City.

Susan Fairforest

Beazer East & EPA: Keeping Gainesville Toxic with a Little Help from AMEC

19 Jun

The United States has recovered more than 19 million from AMEC in damages and penalties to settle litigation regarding fraud, false claims and kickbacks on Federal contracts in Sacramento, San Francisco, St. Louis and New Jersey.

At the World Trade Center, AMEC destroyed very important evidence during the clean-up.  This and the tampering witnessed by many residents in our neighborhood render AMEC’s soils test results false and unacceptable and Un-American.  Why are we entrusting the health and the lives of Gainesville’s children to AMEC?

The “Raw Deal” as acknowledged by this Commission earlier this year really gives us a toxic waste dump.  Dumping additional toxic residential soil on top of the already contaminated superfund site allows creosote, and other Koppers chemicals to continue to contaminate our drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer.

Removing one foot of polluted soil and entombing residents in toxic homes does nothing to protect families.  Officials already know that in some homes two to four feet and even twenty to forty feet of toxic soil have already been replaced with clean soil, only to find out later that the replacement soil is just as contaminated as the original soil.

According to Beazer East employee Mitch Brourman, this clean-up is “the best clean-up ever in the nation”.  No, EPA and Beazer East, this is NOT “the best clean-up ever” and it is NOT protective of Gainesville residents and our city.  This is nothing more than a criminal cover-up that is Keeping Gainesville Toxic.  We need and want out of our toxic homes!

Residents want to thank Todd Chase: he is the only City Commissioner that fully understood the implications of accepting this cover-up/raw deal.  We are grateful to him for voting against it.  This Raw Deal will forever stamp Gainesville with the stigma of Toxic City.

Ron Hodill

 

Another Family Rejects Beazer East/EPA’s Dangerous and Disingenuous “off-site soil remedial action”

4 Jun

Scott Miller, Remedial Project Manager
Superfund Remedial Branch
USEPA Region 4
Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street
Atlanta, GA 30303

May 15, 2013

Mr. Miller et al,

We still do not grant access to our property, parcel 08409-000-000, to Beazer East, Inc./Koppers Inc., Tetra Tech, MACTEC (AMEC), Kestrel Ecological Services, or any other entities or individuals working on behalf of Beazer East, Inc., US EPA, FL DOH or FL DEP for soil sampling or any other activity related to the dangerous and disingenuous “off-site soil remedial action”.

Let us again plainly state that we are not participating in any phase of EPA’s and Beazer East’s “off-site soil remediation”.  As you well know, in our neighborhood it has been repeatedly illustrated that clean replacement soils quickly become as contaminated as the replaced soils, sometimes even more contaminated.  Further, your “remediation” fails to address the greater, more immediate danger posed to our families by the dioxin-saturated interiors of our homes. 

We refuse to participate in your purely cosmetic psychological exercise designed to deceive residents into the false belief that our homes and gardens will no longer be a serious toxic threat to our families.  This includes any and all phases of the soil scraping and cover-up that you are trying to force on innocent residents in lieu of providing the real protective action that our suffering community needs and deserves.

Please inform your contractors: NO employee of Tetra Tech, MACTEC (AMEC), Kestrel Ecological Services, Beazer East, Inc./Koppers Inc., US EPA, FL DOH or FL DEP may trespass our property at any time without both our explicit permission and our actual physical presence while you are there.  This prohibition also applies to any employees of Alachua County or the City of Gainesville intending to trespass our property for any activities connected to the “off-site soil remediation” in Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

Please contact attorney Stephen Murakami, as instructed in this email which you received on July 6, 2012:

Dear Mr. Miller:
I believe my client has made it abundantly clear by her unequivocal instructions and notice set forth in her message, that she does not wish to participate in any additional soil or dust sampling conducted by you or any of your agents or contractors.  In the future, should you require any information pertaining to the Kennedy’s property, kindly contact me in advance of any attempt to secure the Kennedy’s permission or authorization to enter upon their property for any purpose.
Sincerely,
Stephen David Murakami, Esq.
Attorney at Law

 

Please reply to our email so that we know that you understand its contents.

Sincerely,

Sandra Watts Kennedy and Kevin Kennedy

Consent Decree published: Last Chance to ask the Feds for a Real Cleanup

21 Feb

The Proposed Consent Decree/Final Cleanup Plan for the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site was posted in the Federal Register on February 13, 2013. The posting of this notice opened a brief period for public comment on the Consent Decree.

This is the last opportunity to submit our comments directly to the US  District Court for the Northern District of Florida, who will make the final decision on whether to approve  the Consent Decree.  Comments must be submitted no later than March 14, 2013.

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to “United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1”. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail.

Send your comments to:

The Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division

Refer to:

United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1

Email:  pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov

Mail:   Assistant Attorney General, US DOJ-ENRD

               PO Box 7611

Washington, DC 20044-7611

During the public comment period, the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.