The owner of a derelict Bridgeport building has paid the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $1.75 million in cleanup costs to settle a lawsuit over environmental hazards on the property.
The 6-acre property at 25 Grant St. was the site of a fire in September 2014. After the fire, the EPA discovered leaking and damaged drums containing hazardous substances on the site and conducted environmental cleanups in 2015 and 2016. However, the EPA charged the building’s owner, 25 Grant Street LLC, with making numerous cash distributions of insurance proceeds received for losses from the fire, which resulted in an artificially induced insolvency designed to prevent the company from compensating the federal government for the cleanup.
The EPA notified the company that such transfers of funds ran afoul of the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act, and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against 25 Grant Street LLC and its four controlling individual members in February 2018.
“The money recovered in this case will be returned to the United States government for the benefit of the people we serve,” said Deb Szaro, acting regional administrator for EPA New England. “This case shows that the EPA is committed to holding accountable those who attempt to circumvent their cleanup responsibilities and the laws that protect the financial interest of the government and the American taxpayers.”