A prominent Dayton-area demolition contractor’s business will pay $23,000 in fines – a penalty the state applauded – for two convictions in an EPA illegal dumping case, a judge ordered Monday.
Steve Rauch’s company, SRI Inc., will pay $20,000 for a felony conviction of open dumping of solid waste and $3,000 for a misdemeanor conviction, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy O’Connell ruled Monday.
SRI will also be on probation for up to five years. The company must also develop a solid waste disposal training program for employees and pay court costs, among other steps outlined by O’Connell.
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“This is sort of a unique situation,” O’Connell said of the criminal conviction of a business in an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency case tried by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“There’s a reason for solid waste disposal rules….to protect the environment,” he added.
The maximum fine – which was sought by the state - for both charges combined was $29,000, court records show.
“We are pleased with the sentence imposed,” a statement issued by Ohio Attorney General’s Public Information Officer Dominic Binkley said. “A monetary fine sends the message to this landfill owner and others that this conduct will not be tolerated and they will be held accountable.”
Rauch, 64, of Germantown, declined comment to the court. He and his attorneys left the courthouse without comment.
While SRI was convicted in the case, a jury last month found Rauch personally not guilty of illegal dumping charges involving a Miamisburg demolition site, a West Carrollton-owned dump site and land owned by Rauch.
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The jury also found another of his companies, Rauch Trucking, not guilty of charges against it.
Rauch’s attorneys sought a judgment of acquittal on the felony charge against SRI Inc., but O’Connell on Monday denied that request.
Rauch and his businesses do private work and have received millions of dollars in local and federal contracts, including work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the city of Dayton and Kettering Health Network.
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It was announced Oct. 29 that this spring a federal grand jury secretly indicted Rauch and others in probe involved city of Dayton contracts.
In the EPA case, the state wanted “maximum fines for the offenses committed and reasonable conditions of community control related to the criminal conduct,” according to documents filed Friday.
SRI Inc. faced a fine between $10,000 and $25,000 for the illegal dumping conviction, according to the AG’s office. The maximum penalty for the 2nd-degree misdemeanor demolition and debris rule violation is a fine of up to $4,000, according to the state.
“The state recommends the court impose a maximum fine in order to deter SRI and other landfills from illegally open dumping solid waste and to ensure that the fine is large enough to punish SRI,” Assistant Attorney General Sally Metzer Montell wrote.
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“Testimony at trial revealed that SRI was warned of ongoing illegal operations throughout the year of 2016, but the problems persisted,” the document states. “They consistently failed to take the necessary actions to prevent solid waste from being illegally dumped in the landfill.”
The jury found Rauch not guilty on two counts of illegal open dumping of solid waste, and one count of operating a solid waste facility without a license. It also found Rauch Trucking Inc. not guilty of illegal open dumping of solid waste.
Rauch Operations Manager Jennifer Copeland, who had also been charged in the case, testified for the state in a deal with prosecutors. Charges against Copeland have since been dismissed, court records show.
Rauch’s attorneys did not present any witnesses during trial and told the jury the state failed to meet its burden of proof.
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