Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Concrete king owes $20M in fines
From DNA Info:
The Brooklyn developer and concrete tycoon who hopes to expand his Red Hook shipping terminal with toxic landfill owes the state tens of thousands of dollars in fines for illegally dumping into Gowanus Bay.
Records show the amount John Quadrozzi is on the hook for could be as much as $20 million.
Quadrozzi, the owner of Gowanus Bay Terminal and the 46-acre Gowanus Industrial Park in Red Hook, left a large pile of potentially contaminated fill on a broken pier near the bay in May 2006, according to court documents provided by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
The fill, comprised of dirt and other unknown materials, washed into the water during high tide shortly afterward. The pollution "compromised the ecology of the shoreline," the DEC said in an email to DNAinfo.com New York.
"Since the origin and composition of the material is unknown, it is…possible (not certain) that the material contained chemical constituents that would…not be acceptable in tidal waters," a DEC attorney wrote.
"The environmental consequences may have included... the clouding of waterways and interfering with the habitat of living things that depend on those waters."
The DEC ordered Gowanus Industrial Park to pay the state $60,000 in civil penalties in May 2007, an amount that was to be submitted in 10 monthly installments through 2008. The company has yet to pay $45,000 of that original fine.
The DEC also directed GIP to remove an 18-foot-tall, 200-foot-long corrugated metal fence it had installed without permission between Henry Street Basin and the Red Hook Recreation Area, which effectively walled-off the area's waterfront views.
Quadrozzi and his company ultimately fought both orders and submitted only the first three payments totalling $15,000, the DEC said.
They also left the fence in place for more than a year, contending that it kept trespassers out of the terminal and "promote[d] the health of the people of the State of New York by preventing a spreading of dust" — a claim the DEC labelled "a stretch at best," according to court documents.
Quadrozzi and GIP eventually removed the fence in 2009, but only after an appeals court found their contentions against removing the fence "without merit."
The fines could multiply hundreds of times over. In 2008, the DEC filed suit seeking $10,500 for each day the remainder of the outstanding $60,000 fine has not been paid since May 23, 2007, plus an additional $10,000. To date, that amounts to nearly $20 million.
The fines, however, have not stopped Quadrozzi from seeking to expand the Gowanus Bay Terminal, located in Gowanus Industrial Park.