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For Immediate Release
July 26, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN ANNOUNCES CONVICTIONS IN BALTIMORE CITY DUMPING CASE


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Jason Tart, 34, of the 5000 block of Forge Road in Perry Hall, Maryland, and John Cromwell, 63, of the 4400 block of MacWorth Place in Baltimore, Maryland pled guilty to illegally dumping debris for commercial gain in a warehouse located at 3501 E. Biddle Street in Baltimore City, Maryland.

According to the statement of facts, Tart and Cromwell owned several businesses and operated under several different business names, including CFH Management, CFH Roll-Off, and J & J Recycling. On January 30, 2004, Cromwell, signed a one-year lease (for J & J Recycling) to rent a warehouse from Biddle Ashland company, located in Baltimore City, Maryland. Soon after the lease was signed, however, piles of debris began accumulating in the warehouse. The company’s employees would sort the debris, purportedly for recycling, but the debris was rarely hauled out of the warehouse.

In March 2004, Tart allowed a construction company to dump its demolition debris in the warehouse for a tipping fee of $27.00/ton, a fee considerably cheaper than the cost to properly dispose of the debris in an authorized landfill. In April 2004 Tart and Cromwell had completely filled up the warehouse with debris. On April 21, 2004, Maryland Department of the Environment, Solid Waste Division issued a site complaint to “CFH Roll-Off” for operating a solid waste processing facility and transfer station without a permit. The complaint instructed the company to “remove existing waste and dispose of [the waste] at properly permitted facilities.” The site complaint stated that CFH Roll-Off had 30 days to comply with the order. Instead of complying with the site violation, Tart and Cromwell abandoned the site, leaving the 25,000 sq. ft. Biddle Ashland warehouse completely filled with debris and rubbish.

By law, the dumping, depositing, throwing or leaving of any litter on any public or private place is prohibited unless such property is designated by the State, one of its agencies or one of its subdivisions as a disposal site for such litter. The Biddle Ashland warehouse is not an authorized state or county disposal site.

Tart and Cromwell were convicted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City by the Honorable Joseph P. McCurdy. Tart was sentenced to three years in prison, all three years suspended; a fine of $25,000 with all but $15,000 suspended; and two years of supervised probation. In addition, Judge McCurdy ordered Tart to perform 200 hours in community services by the end of his probation period. Cromwell was sentenced to two years in prison, all two years suspended; a fine of $2,500 with all but $500 suspended; and one year of supervised probation.

"These individuals collected and illegally dumped debris, and charged other companies to dump construction debris in a warehouse without a permit; when ordered to remove the debris, they abandoned it. Their actions not only create a hazard to the health and welfare of citizens, but undermine the Maryland Department of Environment’s attempts to ensure that waste is properly disposed of here in Maryland," Attorney General Curran said.

The convictions resulted from a joint investigation of the Office of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Baltimore City Police Department-Environmental Crimes Enforcement Unit. The defendants faced a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine. However, the monetary penalty has increased to $30,000 for acts occurring after October 1, 2004.


 

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