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Algona contractor who put workers in danger of asbestos exposure sentenced to probation


This news story was published on February 25, 2019.
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Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – An experienced Algona contractor who purchased and renovated the former Kossuth County Home without thoroughly inspecting for asbestos was sentenced February 13, 2019, to two years of probation.

Steven A. Weaver, age 61, from Algona, Iowa, received sentence after an October 11, 2018 guilty plea to one count of violating clean air work practice standards.

In a plea agreement, Weaver admitted he was an experienced contractor and building inspector who had worked for various Iowa municipalities since the early 2000s. During this time, Weaver performed work for the municipalities that was financed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Iowa Finance Authority. Weaver was responsible for conducting initial inspections of residential properties to determine whether it was cost-effective to rehabilitate each home. In conjunction with this work, Weaver gained experience working with lead and asbestos.

In November 2013, Weaver purchased the former Kossuth County Home in the Algona area. Weaver intended to convert the building into apartments to be known as “The Oasis.” Weaver hired workers to renovate the building. None of these workers were licensed to remove asbestos. Prior to beginning the renovation, Weaver failed to thoroughly inspect the building for asbestos to determine whether it was subject to regulation.

In November 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) searched Weaver’s property and determined piping in the basement contained regulated asbestos. Weaver’s workers had already removed the piping. An EPA agent asked Weaver whether he had notified the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (“IDNR”) before the renovation and, when Weaver indicated he had not, the EPA agent instructed Weaver to report to IDNR. However, Weaver did not notify IDNR. Instead, Weaver continued the renovation operation in late 2014 without properly notifying IDNR.

Weaver was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Chief Judge Strand indicated the offense was “aggravating” because Weaver had cut corners on his own renovation project and potentially put his workers at risk of asbestos exposure. Weaver was sentenced to two years of probation, fined $10,000, and ordered to pay costs of prosecution in the amount of $1,573.35.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tim Vavricek and Matt Cole and investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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11 Responses to Algona contractor who put workers in danger of asbestos exposure sentenced to probation

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Thus the reason for federal, state, county, and local regulations and standards. Profit before people. If they get cancer and die he should be charged with murder. People say over regulation, but the business owners only look at the bottom line and screw the employees.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    10 to 1, his workers were from south of the border.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2019 at 8:54 am

    What? Trump administration says asbestos isn’t harmful. MAGA

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      show me where they said that

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 25, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        Do some of your own research and you find scores of information on Trump & his “love” of asbestos.

        “Asbestos was one of the first carcinogens regulated under the Clean Air Act in 1973 (Nixon was president)
        and then was largely banned in 1989 (George HW Bush was president). No amount of asbestos is safe. Yet, the Trump administration is #MAGA or making asbestos great again”

        “On 1 June 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics announced a proposed “Significant New Use Rule” (SNUR) for asbestos, a mineral once widely used in the construction of buildings due to its flame-retardant properties but now uncontroversially considered a carcinogen.”

        “President Trump spoke on the topic of asbestos long before his election to the White House. In his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback,
        Trump argued that the chemical is actually safe once applied and suggested that the link to health problems was manufactured by
        mob-connected companies which perform asbestos removal.”

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          February 25, 2019 at 7:50 pm

          Obviously you either didn’t read the proposal, or you’re just spreading propaganda:

          This proposed SNUR broadens EPA’s 1989 restrictions on asbestos products. EPA is proposing to ensure that the manufacture, import, or processing for the currently unregulated new uses of asbestos identified in the rule are prohibited unless reviewed and approved by EPA.

          What part of the SNUR to broaden the scope to unregulated uses and prohibit those as well in the new rule don’t you understand.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            February 25, 2019 at 8:53 pm

            If i can chip in here, the EPA will do whatever trump says to do. Based the history of the EPA in the Trump reign, you want it approved?, ok, it’s approved. Science doesnt count. Read the part under Snu -only approach. These are scientists who work directly with these chemicals. They are not happy because the Trump rules do “broaden” the use of chemicals because it is easier to get an ok.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            February 25, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 26, 2019 at 6:52 am

      This has NOTHING to do with President Trump!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 26, 2019 at 9:25 am

      Kill’em all go Trump!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 27, 2019 at 6:06 pm

        As long as you are first on the hit list.