Factory Owner Admits Exposing Workers to Asbestos

According to democratandchronicle.com, an Avon man has admitted that he knowingly subjected untrained workers – including a 16-year-old boy – to asbestos at a Rochester warehouse, court records show. Anastasio “Taso” Kolokouris, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating federal Clean Air asbestos work standards. Kolokouris faces between 15 and 21 months in prison, according to his plea agreement.

According to a statement from an Assistant U.S. Attorney, “Acting on a complaint, an inspector from the New York State Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau visited the Exchange Street warehouse, owned by Kolokouris, on Dec. 13, 2011. The inspector observed large quantities of white fibrous material, later confirmed to be asbestos, in and around the dumpster. He also noted that people working in the dumpster did not have proper personal protective equipment, and that there was no asbestos warning signs on the dumpster.”

Criminal investigators with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency visited the warehouse site, and found extensive proof of improper handling of asbestos. Workers told investigators that Kolokouris agreed to pay them in cash for removing asbestos from the dumpster. Kolokouris is scheduled to be sentenced June 1st before a U.S. District court Judge.

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