A “whistleblower” working for Steve Rauch gave information that led to illegal dumping charges against the Dayton-area contractor and his businesses, a West Carrollton official testified Wednesday.
On cross-examination, however, a Rauch attorney repeatedly suggested to Carl Enterman that he had previously agreed to let the defendant’s companies illegally dump materials at the city’s Hydraulic Road site long before they were discovered in early 2016.
“Absolutely not,” West Carrollton’s chief code enforcement officer said when pressed by defense attorney Ralph Kohnen about permitting Rauch’s business to dump wood and other materials that fall outside the classification of “clean hard fill.”
“That’s not what I am charged to do,” Enterman told the jury in the trial of Rauch and two of his businesses. “I cite other people for this. Why would have told Steve Rauch to dump debris” illegally?
Instead, Enterman – who testified for more than three hours — said a truck driver for Rauch’s companies provided West Carrollton with details on how tons of illegally dumped materials had been buried under the city-owned land.
This included more than 100 mattresses and an untold number of box springs found “15 to 20 feet” underground, he said.
The first mattresses were discovered in late January 2016, Enterman said. The conversation with the “whistleblower” – identified as Randy Smith – came a few weeks later.
The final count of buried mattresses would not come until at least May, Enterman said.
Rauch, 64, of Germantown, faces illegal dumping charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in a state Environmental Protection Agency case filed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. SRI Inc. and Rauch Trucking Co. Inc. also face criminal counts in the trial.
Enterman said West Carrollton City Manager Brad Townsend “gave me the whistleblower’s name and number.” Townsend got the contact information from the media, he said.
Smith said “numerous truckloads of mattresses” were taken to the Hydraulic Road site, Enterman said. The Rauch driver told Enterman he was under the assumption the decision to dump them at the location came “directly” from Steve Rauch.
Rauch is one of four vendors which the city allowed to dump clean hard fill – such as asphalt, brick and concrete block – at the West Carrollton site, Enterman said. And Enterman said he gave Rauch a key to the dump site, which he said was not closely watched and “nobody was in charge of.”
Disposal of construction and demolition debris – such as mattresses - and solid waste is not permitted at that location under EPA guidelines.
Kohnen suggested that in late 2015 Enterman’s inexperience in his role – he had recently been put in charge of code enforcement – was a factor in how the materials came to be dumped there.
Enterman admitted he unaware in early 2016 what “clean hard fill” was and that the city had not filed the necessary documents permitted to accept those materials.
A proposal from a Rauch employee for disposal at the site included “wood” and “vegetation,” both forbidden items at such sites.
The proposal, Enterman said, was not signed by any city employee. And the items in question, he added, “were not in the contract” between the city and Rauch for the Hydraulic Road site.
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