5 Fairfield Town Officials Charged in Probe of Hazardous Waste Dumping

Fairfield police cruiser

Five former or current officials of Fairfield, Connecticut, are among several people who have been arrested in connection with the illegal dumping of hazardous materials next to the town’s public works garage and efforts to hide the extent of the contamination, according to police.

Several of the officials were arrested this past week. The charges are related to a nearly three-acre site containing PCBs, lead and other hazardous materials, Fairfield police said. Town officials estimate cleanup of the site will cost $5 million to $10 million.

Among those arrested are former Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo, former Public Works Superintendent Scott Bartlett, interim Public Works Director Brian Carey and former Human Resources Director Emmet Hibson. Police also arrested Robert Grabarek, of Clinton, owner of Osprey Environmental Engineering.

They are charged with the illegal disposing of PCBs and solid waste, as well as conspiracy. All are free on promises to appear in court next month.

Robert Mayer, former chief of staff to former First Selectman Michael Tetreau, was charged earlier this year with hiding evidence in the case.

Bartlett and Michelangelo also were previously charged with conspiring with construction company owner Jason Julian to allow Julian’s company to dump the hazardous materials at the town-owned site. Authorities lodged bribery and kickback charges against Bartlett and Julian, Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

Investigators said the town hired Grabarek’s company in 2016 to clean up the site and construct a berm around it to prevent adjacent properties from becoming contaminated. Instead, police said, Grabarek’s company and town officials conspired to bury contaminated materials into the berm.

Fairfield police began an investigation of the dumping in 2017 and arrested several town officials in July 2019.

Contact information for Michelangelo and Carey could not be immediately found Saturday. Messages seeking comment were left for Bartlett, Hibson and Grabarek. Mayer and Julian have pleaded not guilty in the case.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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