|Ohio News |
Article published Tuesday, August 12, 2003|
Ohio seeks details on Envirosafe
Some stockholders remain
(THE BLADE/DIANE HIRES)Toledoís water intake
lines run through the middle of the Envirosafe landfill in
COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
COLUMBUS - For more than two years, state
officials have been trying to determine who owns the Envirosafe
landfill in Oregon.
Ohio law requires not only that ownership
of hazardous waste landfills be disclosed, but that the backgrounds
and fingerprints of officers, directors, and key employees be
provided to state officials.
That hasnít been done, said Gary
Taylor, supervisor of the Ohio attorney generalís environmental
background investigation unit.
In 2001, Envirosource, Inc.,
the Pennsylvania parent company of Envirosafe Services of Ohio,
Inc., which operates the landfill, merged with ES Acquisition
State officials determined that ES Acquisition is a
wholly owned subsidiary of GSC Recovery II, L.P., which in turn is a
subsidiary of GSC Partners, of Florham Park, N.J.
said GSC Partners failed to provide background information to the
state by a Jan. 12, 2001, deadline, and still has not provided full
"During the course of the investigation, the
attorney generalís office received confusing and contradicting
information regarding the merger, organizational structure, and
transfers of ownership concerning the parent entity or entities" of
Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc., Mr. Taylor wrote in a report to
the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates the
The background investigation is to ensure that
owners and operators have the "competency and reliability and
expertise" to operate a hazardous waste facility, said Harry Sarvis,
a manager with the Ohio EPAís division of hazardous waste
The state requires fingerprints because those who
have committed at least one of 21 crimes - including securities
fraud and forgery - can be prohibited from being landfill owners,
Mr. Sarvis said.
"The policy of the state is to make sure
that the waste disposal industry is scrupulously clean," said Mark
Gribben, a spokesman for state Attorney General Jim Petro.
Toledo attorney representing Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc., said
the state has all the information it needs about the landfillís
"We do know we disclosed everyone with involvement of
the facility," said Richard Sargeant, an attorney with Eastman &
Mr. Sargeant said GSC Partners are so removed from the
operations and management of the Oregon landfill, there is no reason
to supply information about them to the state.
Services of Ohio is the group of people who run the facility. GSC
Partners doesnít interest themselves in us," he
Officers of GSC Partners didnít return messages seeking
A former Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
administrator said the state needs to know more than what has been
disclosed about Envirosafeís new owners.
"This company should
be totally transparent about who they are," said Gerry Ioannides,
who served on the state Hazardous Waste Facility Board in 1991 when
it approved an expansion of the Envirosafe landfill. "We issued the
permit based on the trust of the people who came before us. You
canít issue a permit if we really donít know who the owners
Judy Junga, a Toledo resident and an Envirosafe
watchdog who for years has pushed state officials to better monitor
the Oregon landfill, said the state should insist that GSC Partners
discloses details about its ownership and provide all fingerprints
of directors, officers, and key employees.
"The people who
run the Envirosafe facility were given a permit under Ohio law. If
they donít want to comply with all of Ohio law, let them send their
trucks and train cars and dig out all the stuff they have dumped in
our backyard - next to Toledoís water lines - and take it all back
and dump it in the backyards of the people who own this facility,"
Toledoís water intake lines, which transport water
from Lake Erie to the cityís water-treatment plant in East Toledo,
run between hazardous waste pits. They are monitored by city
officials to assure no landfill contamination enters the
Envirosource officials have told the state, "Entities
managed by" GSC Partners own 70.6 percent of the outstanding stock
and notes of Envirosource.
"We have no other current
information as to who owns Envirosource stock and notes," wrote John
Minihan, assistant general counsel of Envirosource.
& Smith gave the state an organizational chart that shows
Fairlane Management Corp. as the parent company of Envirosafe
Services of Ohio. Fairlane was incorporated Oct. 3, 2002, in
GSC Partnersí portfolio includes 70.6 percent of
the shares of Fairlane Management Corp, but Eastman & Smith has
told the state it canít identify the owners of the remaining 29.4
percent of the shares of Fairlane.
The reason? The stock and
notes are "held in street name," which refers to trust companies
that hold stock on behalf of owners, said Mr. Sargeant, the Eastman
& Smith attorney.
Because Fairlane is a private company,
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cannot require the
owners to reveal their identities, he said.
Even so, the
attorney generalís office has repeated its request for more details
Eastman & Smith has asked the state to
waive the request for information about GSC Partners, saying it
isnít involved in managing Envirosafe Services of Ohio.
attorney generalís office has forwarded the investigative report to
the Ohio EPA for review. EPA Director Chris Jones has authority to
revoke permits based on the findings of a background investigation,
Mr. Sarvis said.