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Landfill agrees to contempt charge

November 6, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The co-managing partner of the C&D Disposal Technologies agreed Monday afternoon to a contempt of court motion filed by the Jefferson County board of health and has until Dec. 20 to clean up the landfill's recycling site.

But Joseph Scugoza's request for Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge David Henderson to reconsider a contempt of court ruling filed by the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and issued against the C&D landfill on Oct. 4 was denied during a Monday morning hearing.

Scugoza represented himself at the morning court hearing as well as the afternoon hearing.

At the morning hearing, Scugoza argued he had never been properly served with notice of the contempt of court charge filed by the Ohio attorney general's office.

"The information was sent to Mr. Michael Cyphert who was my attorney in the past. But I never personally saw anything about the hearing in this court. I would never disrespect this court. This is a $19 million judgment, and I was never properly notified. And once I found out about that hearing and contempt of court ruling I filed the proper paperwork in a timely fashion. I am here to beg the court for relief and to ask the court to schedule a proper hearing so I can plead my case," said Scugoza.

"Your attorney of record was served. You are saying you were not aware of the hearing but the record shows your attorney notified you of the hearing. I am overruling your motion for relief. That doesn't mean you can't file a motion for relief and subpoena witnesses," announced Henderson.

"I don't understand how I can personally be sued. I am representing a corporation. I will talk to an attorney and do what I have to do," Scugoza replied.

Scugoza met with Assistant County Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta prior to the Monday afternoon hearing to consider contempt of court charges filed by Agresta, who was representing the Jefferson County board of health.

He then appeared before Henderson to announce an agreement had been reached with the assistant county prosecutor.

"On behalf of C&D, I am agreeing they are in contempt of court because the recycling area is not fully cleaned up. We have contained leachate and there are no odors. C&D does not have funds to clean up that site. But we have closed the facility and posted a sign at the scale house," Scugoza told Henderson during the one-hour afternoon hearing.

Agresta said the health department "has ample evidence to show the place is much worse now than it was in July."

"The defendant is in contempt because the leachate has not been reduced and the odor has not been reduced. Without removing the solid waste at the landfill there is no way to curb the leachate or odor. The problem is getting worse and must be addressed. We have a nuisance issue and need to address that problem," said Agresta.

Henderson said Scugoza has until Dec. 20 to address the solid waste at the landfill or face a $250 fine.

Agresta said C&D also owes the health department $93,708 in unpaid tipping fees from December 2011 to July 2012.

"That has created a financial hardship for the health department and other agencies who share in those fees. The health department uses the fees to help fund the environmental division," said Agresta.

Scugoza told the judge during the afternoon hearing the landfill soon will be sold to United Waste and that corporation will fund the clean up of the recycling site.

Todd Lautzenheiser, chairman of the board of directors for United Waste, said Monday night in a telephone interview his company has been in talks with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding the purchase of the C&D landfill.

"We are very excited about this project. We want to meet all OEPA requirements to make sure we get waste coming back through the landfill. This particular project is very near and dear to my heart because I am from Ohio," said Lautzenheiser.

"We are working on waste technology that will convert trash into electrical energy. Our plan is to bring the landfill up to correct standards and start preparing for methane conversion. I hope to start cleanup efforts by the first of the year. Our long-term goal is to bring 5,000 to 7,000 tons of waste into the facility," Lautsenheiser stated.

"We are trying to be on the cutting edge to be productive using municipal solid waste. There are 1,100 acres there that we want to use for 100 percent electricity," said Lautzenheiser.

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