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Thu June 2, 2011
Illegal dumping suit continues, cleanup begins
By Scott Harvey
Commerce – The real estate firm alleged to have illegally dumped and buried asbestos near one of their Commerce properties has begun cleaning up the site.
Fountainbleu Management Companies began remediation on the site last week, just days after the company's owner, Roland Von Kurnatowski, met with lawyers for the City of Commerce. The two sides agreed that Fountainbleu would pay for the cleanup, and also pay for the city to hire a separate asbestos expert to double check their work.
"Our experts confirm that they did clean up the slab and did clean up the chunks of debris that were lying around the facility," says Daniel Ray, of the law firm of Scott, Money & Ray PPLC, representing the city.
Remediation still needs done on the material buried underground. The lawsuit also remains ongoing, and lawyers on both sides are continuing with the discovery portion of the case.
"The only difference made by them cleaning it up, is that the $25,000 a day per person and per violation fine is cut off."
The company still faces millions in fines, to be paid to the City of Commerce and the State of Texas should their alleged actions be proven.
"We're not looking for damages based on people that may have been harmed by releasing asbestos or anything like that. This is a fine through the water code and the administrative code."
Foutainbleu continues to operate its Live Oak Apartments in Commerce, with 11 units currently being rented. The New Orleans-based company has approximately 40 apartment complex properties nationwide, including two in Greenville.
The company is scheduled to continue cleaning next week.
According to Ray, depositions in the case will most likely take place in about a month.