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Two plead guilty of illegal asbestos extraction

On Thursday, January 30, two men admitted that they were responsible for the unlawful removal of asbestos in a former hospital in Riverside.

According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Michael Kuovaras, 61, was guilty of violating the Asbestos Control and Licensing Act in the third degree, while Frank Rizzo, 55, was guilty of conspiracy to the second degree. Kuovaras and Rizzo reportedly ordered the extraction of asbestos in Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital without an operating license and allegedly endangered untrained laborers by having them work with asbestos without protective gear. The removed asbestos was then buried in the site.

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said the defendants completely ignored the health and safety of workers and nearby residents. Both, who are awaiting sentencing on April 25, are likely to have prison sentences recommended.

When accidentally inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause serious, even fatal, health problems. To learn more about asbestos exposure, the harm it can cause, and what people in these situations can do, call 800-781-3955.

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