The former owners of a Salem property recklessly cut corners that probably led to the release of asbestos during demolition at the site, the state attorney general’s office said in a lawsuit.
The office alleges in the suit, filed this week, that MRM Project Management, its principals and a contractor broke the law by knocking down buildings containing asbestos, leaving the contaminated debris on the site uncovered, and hauling it away in cardboard containers on open trucks, The Salem News reported.
The 6.7-acre former home of Salem Oil and Grease is the site of a planned 129-unit apartment complex. MRM purchased it in 2006 and sold it in 2018.
Two buildings at the site were never checked for asbestos before they were demolished, according to the suit, and the company failed to follow a plan it had submitted for the ones that were known to be contaminated.
“These defendants recklessly cut corners while redeveloping this site, ignored our important air pollution and asbestos laws, and put the health and safety of their workers and the public at risk,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a news release.
Her office seeks fines of up to $50,000 per violation per day under state laws.
Attorney Marshall Handly, who has been representing MRM, said he had not yet seen the complaint but has had conversations with the attorney general’s office.
“We’ve asked for some specificity as to the violations they’re claiming,” Handly said. “The place was completely cleaned by MRM under the direction of the (Department of Environmental Protection).”
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