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Algona man illegally renovates building with asbestos, pleads guilty to crime

CEDAR RAPIDS – A North Central Iowa man pled guilty yesterday to failing to make proper report and notification during the renovation of the former Kossuth County Home, which contained asbestos. Gary Christianson, 57, from Algona, Iowa, was convicted of one count of failing to notify and report that he was renovating a building containing asbestos to the Environmental Protection Agency or Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

At the plea hearing, Christianson admitted he was the operator of a renovation of the former Kossuth County Home in Algona, Iowa. The building contained asbestos both on pipes and in floor tiles. Christianson admitted that, from about November 2014 through about January 2015, he failed to notify the EPA and IDNR of his intention to renovate the building as he was required to do.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Christianson remains free on bond previously set pending sentencing. Christianson faces a possible maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and a year of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tim Vavricek and Matt Cole and was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division.

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