Illegal Asbestos Work, Gene Cornell Smith gets 42 month sentence
Gene Cornell Smith, a developer from New Jersey, was recently sentenced to 42 months in prison for illegal asbestos work. After purchasing a warehouse in Philadelphia, Smith hired unskilled day laborers to remove the asbestos throughout the site. Asbestos removal requires specific permits, licenses and procedures be followed in order to insure the safety of workers and nearby residents. Part of The Clear Air Act, a federal regulation, requires protocols be followed to stop asbestos fibers, a known carcinogenic, from entering the air. Not only were these protocols not followed, but the workers were not even provided with the proper personal protective equipment. Concerned neighbors alerted the Asbestos Control Unit of the City Public Health Department’s Air Management Services. Once onsite, the authorities order an immediate cessation of all work. Smith was order to hire a licensed asbestos abatement company to properly remediate the building. Instead of doing that, Smith continued to remove and dispose of the asbestos illegally. Governmental Superfund money was later used to decontaminate the site.
Smith is now behind bars for this careless act that recklessly endangered the workers and the people living in the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, Smith also faces fines and restitution of over $450,000.