Illegal dumping charges against a prominent Dayton-area contractor and his businesses were spurred by actions of company President Steve Rauch to save money, prosecutors said Tuesday.
“It’s all about the boss who wanted to save a buck,” Kenneth Egbert of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office told a jury, “when he blatantly disregarded Ohio law.”
But attorneys for Rauch said, “You will not hear any evidence that Steve Rauch told anybody to dump mattresses at the dump site” in West Carrollton and he did not direct employees to dispose of materials illegally at SRI Inc., his Jefferson Twp. landfill.
When word got out about the dumping at the Hydraulic Road site in West Carrollton, “everybody started pointing fingers,” defense attorney Ralph Kohnen told the jury of eight women and four men.
Kohnen noted: “Steve Rauch did not order anyone to bury solid waste” at the SRI site on Soldiers Home Road.
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 trial in the case being heard by Judge Timothy O’Connell. All parties have pleaded not guilty.
Charges against Rauch Operations Manager Jennifer M. Copeland, 33, of Franklin, were initially set to be part of the trial. But her case will go forward separately, a court official said Tuesday.
The Ohio AG’s office filed a motion late Monday to dismiss the charge of operating or maintaining a solid waste facility against a third Rauch company, Bearcreek Farms, Inc.
That motion also seeks to dismiss two counts against Steve Rauch and two counts against SRI, court records show.
Rauch was indicted in November 2018 on five felony counts, including open dumping and burning, and operating a solid waste facility without a license in charges. The charges span from January to December of 2016.
Charges against Bearcreek Farms and SRI were also filed in November 2018. An indictment against Rauch Trucking was filed in August.
SRI was indicted on unlawfully and recklessly disposing of solid wastes by open dumping not authorized, court records show.
Rauch Trucking was indicted on unlawfully and recklessly disposing of solid wastes by open dumping at the West Carrollton site.
Rauch’s businesses had contracted with Kettering Health Network to demolish the Wyndham Hotel site in Miamisburg, and employees put “loads and loads of mattresses” on Rauch Trucking Co. vehicles heading to the West Carrollton site, Egbert said.
“Instead of paying a fee” to dispose of the material legally, “he wanted to cut corners,” Egbert said. “They were taking the Steve Rauch Way from Miamisburg to West Carrollton.”
However, Kohnen told the jury it may hear conflicting accounts regarding the charges against Steve Rauch, and said the demolition business involves a “process that is anything but simple.”
The companies, Kohnen said, are “not the alter egos of Steve Rauch. They are separate companies. They are separate entities. That’s why they’re charged separately.”
He told the jury, “You might here things about Steve Rauch that you don’t like. He’s a tough businessman.”
But, he said, “You’re going to see that the state has failed to meet” its burden of proof.
The trial is scheduled to resume today at 9 a.m.
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