WILKES-BARRE — The owners of the former Huber Breaker failed to comply with a 30-day cleanup order issued last year.
Now, they may be forced to sell the property to cover the costs of the cleanup. That was one of the options presented by Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III to Paselo Logistics LLC, the company that owns the property in Ashley.
A hearing was held Thursday before Pierantoni with attorneys for the Department of Environmental Protection and Paselo.
On Nov. 7, 2016, Pierantoni issued an order that gave Paselo 30 days to clean the property of tires and drums filled with an unidentified liquid.
Instead of removing the drums, Paselo simply moved some of them into the building on the property, which the DEP says constitutes a failure to comply with the court order.
Now, Pierantoni is holding Paselo in contempt.
The judge said the most important thing is to “ensure the site is properly cleaned up, mindful of the fact that should’ve happened after the first order.”
Paselo’s attorney, Jonathan Comitz, acknowledged the company has not completely complied with the order.
To cover the cleanup, both parties agreed in sessions outside the courtroom to hold an amount of money in escrow. The exact amount, Pierantoni said, is a figure that would need to be agreed upon at a later date by DEP.
As for the source of the money, Pierantoni saw two options.
The first possible source depends on the results of another lawsuit in regards to the property that is currently pending in Philadelphia.
That suit was launched in September 2014 against Paselo by Reivia Ashley LLC, a New Jersey firm that loaned Paselo $1.275 million to buy the site.
The filing alleges that Paselo’s owners, Angelo Frano and Pasquale Scalleat, told Reivia Ashley the sale of scrap metal on the property would lead to revenue of approximately $5 million. But Reivia Ashley is accusing Paselo of stealing money and scrap metal from the site, leading to a breach of contract.
If those potential proceeds are not enough to cover cleanup costs, Pierantoni said the court would order the sale of the 25-acre property.
The judge set another hearing for 9 a.m. Jan. 24 so counsel for both sides could provide updates.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan