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Santa Clarita man sentenced in asbestos case

Posted: June 6, 2011 6:00 p.m.
Updated: June 7, 2011 1:39 a.m.
 

A Santa Clarita man was sentenced to four years in federal prison Monday after being found guilty of five felony offenses, including conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Charles Yi, 45, knew asbestos was present in the ceiling of a 204-unit apartment building he owned in the San Fernando Valley.

In 2006, Yi hired workers who had no asbestos-removal certification or training to scrape the Winnetka building’s ceilings, according to a statement from the department.

The renovation continued even after Yi was told by investigators to stop removing the asbestos. Eventually, the renovation was shut down by an inspector from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the asbestos was cleaned up at a cost of about $1.2 million, according to the department.

Yi was convicted in March of five felony offenses. Among these was Yi’s failure to notify the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District about a renovation containing asbestos, failure to provide a properly trained person during a renovation containing asbestos, failure to properly remove asbestos and failure to properly dispose of asbestos wastes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

John Bostick, 41, also of Santa Clarita, was sentenced to three years of probation including six months of home confinement and 150 hours of community service. Bostick pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act. Bostick was vice president of the now-defunct Millennium Pacific Icon Group, which owned the 204-unit apartment complex.

“Exposure to asbestos can be fatal,” Nick Torres, special agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California, said in a statement. “The defendants in this case knew their waste material contained asbestos and, despite being told by inspectors to stop removing it, directed their ill-equipped workers to continue. Our message is clear. We are taking action against those who put financial gain ahead of people’s health, workers’ safety and their obligations under the law.”

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