Detroit suspends major asbestos abatement contractor, which could delay blight fight

Detroit fighting blight
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 18:35:21-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A suspension of the largest asbestos abatement contractor working on Detroit demolitions could be in court on Friday.

Attorney for BBEK Environmental, Rebecca Camargo, says the suspension is “rash and inappropriate.”

The Detroit Office of Inspector General is investigating BBEK and two subcontractors who are supposed to be independent, third-party air quality monitors – Green Way Environmental and HC Consultants.

City officials say BBEK has done more than 2,500 projects and has been paid $12.2 million since starting work on Detroit blight in 2014. Camargo says 600 properties are affected by the suspension of BBEK. She could ask a judge for an injunction on the suspension. She says the OIG investigation could take two weeks.

Detroit city officials provided this statement:

Tim Devine, General Counsel for the Detroit Land Bank

We recently became aware of a potential issue involving the relationship between one of our environmental contractors and two subcontractors it frequently uses. It is a requirement that the abatement contractors be independent from the air quality monitoring sub-contractors they hire.

After conducting due diligence, we made the decision to refer the matter to the OIG. The issue referred to the OIG concerns contractual compliance and has nothing to do with the performance of the air quality monitoring or the abatement work itself.

We have instructed the demolition contractors that they cannot use these three companies until the OIG review is complete. It is up to the individual demolition contractors to identify new abatement sub-contractors. We will continue to work with contractors to make sure the process continues to move forward and that we meet all HHF deadlines.