Last worker who violated Clean Air Act pleads guilty

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The final defendant who violated the Clean Air Act while removing asbestos from the Kensington Towers on Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo has pleaded guilty.

Rai Johnson, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday. He and employees working under his direction removed asbestos from the defunct apartment complex without safeguards in place from June 2009 through January 2010.

Johnson is the sixth defendant to plead guilty. Ernest Johnson, and JMD project monitors Evan Harnden, Chris Coseglia, Henry Hawkins and Brian Scott, have also been convicted.

“Today’s conviction means that all defendants who worked directly on the Kensington Towers asbestos removal project – and who intentionally violated federal environmental laws while doing so – have now been brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

Charges are still pending against current and former public officials responsible for certifying the project’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including Donald Grzebielucha, William Manuszewski, and Theodore Lehmann. The remaining defendants are expected to go on trial May 13, 2014.

Johnson could face five years in prison when he is sentenced in August.

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