The scope of the investigation that led state and federal agents to raid two properties owned by prominent local businessman Steve Rauch is still unclear.
But one of his companies, Steve R. Rauch Inc., is one of four firms approved by the city of West Carrollton to dump dirt on a city-owned property that this year became the subject of an illegal dumping investigation.
West Carrollton officials this week originally refused to disclose what companies were allowed to dump on the property at 4000 Hydraulic Road. In their refusal, they cited the sealed search warrants used to raid Rauch’s businesses.
But as the Dayton Daily News continued to investigate this issue, the city identified the four businesses allowed to dump there as Steve R. Rauch, Inc.; Plant Priority Service, Inc.; C.G. Construction; Double Jay Construction.
A probe of illegal dumping at the city property found more than 30 tons of improper material there. City officials said they believed one of the approved companies was responsible, but refused to identify the company.
When asked about the West Carrollton investigation earlier this week, Rauch said, “I don’t know anything about it.” He said he has disposed of material at that property, saying, “We did it for the city.” He declined further comment.
Reporters left messages at the listed phone numbers for the other three businesses, but were unable to immediately get comment.
West Carrollton hopes to use the Hydraulic Road property for a park. To raise the land height, the city permitted these companies to dump “clean hard fill” there. The Ohio EPA defines this as “material (that) is not contaminated by solid wastes, infectious wastes, hazardous wastes, or construction and demolition debris (C&DD). If these types of waste are commingled with clean hard fill, all of the materials must be handled and disposed of as solid waste, infectious waste, hazardous waste, or C&DD.”
Montgomery County has four licensed construction and demolition debris facilities, including one owned by Rauch and located at one of the raided properties. It operates under the name SRI, Inc.
The raid was conducted with a sealed warrant, and investigators won’t say what they were looking for at the two properties raided this week. In addition to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office – whose Bureau of Criminal Investigation was investigating the illegal dumping – federal agents from the U.S. Secret Service were involved as well.
Many questions remain about this investigation. We will be working to bring you the latest.