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Two Wisconsin Men Sentenced for Illegal Asbestos Removal

Release Date: 07/21/2004
Contact Information:

Christopher Lagan, 202-564-7338 /

(07/21/04) Michael L. Smith and Lawrence J. Williams, partners in Smith Renovations in Janesville, Wisconsin, were sentenced for illegal removal of asbestos, a violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin in July, 2002. Smith was sentenced to 6 months of community confinement and 5 years of probation. Williams was sentenced to 3 months of community confinement and 5 years of probation. As part of their sentences, both men were also required to pay $50,380 in restitution to Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb. In April 2002, Smith and Williams were contracted to renovate the church. Despite being informed that the ceiling in the church classrooms contained asbestos, Smith and Williams improperly scraped the ceilings of numerous classrooms. They were stopped by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor who was at the site to perform other work in July 2002. Improper removal and bagging of asbestos can expose workers and others who enter the area to the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. Inhaled asbestos fibers are a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Sentencing took place on July 14 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Occupational Health Laboratory. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Madison.