County has spent millions to abate asbestos on multiple occasions over 30 years and now Commissioners will award another $1.3M contract for asbestos abatement. Contractor has connections to individual convicted of bilking Gary Landfill in 1990s.
January 14, 2018-On the agenda for the meeting of the Lake County Commissioners on January 17, 2018 is a letter of recommendation to Northwest Indiana Environmental for asbestos abatement in bathrooms, recorder’s office and courtroom areas at the Lake County Government Center. Northwest Indiana Environmental has received millions of dollars in Lake County contracts over the past several years for contracts involving asbestos abatement. According to Indiana Secretary of State records, Northwest Indiana Environmental is owned by Nada Critser and is located at 660 Morningside Drive in Crown Point. The location is a residence with a homestead exemption according to Lake County Treasurer records.
In 1997, William Critser was convicted in a scheme that involved overbilling the Gary Landfill for shipments of clay. According to news reports at the time, Critser overbilled for hundreds of shipments of clay which were either short or not delivered at all. Critser even had the gall to sue the City of Gary when the shipments were questioned by employees. Critser’s then wife was charged and ultimately convicted of income tax violations in that case. In 2012, Critser and his current company, Gary Material Supply, were charged with felony violations of state regulated wetlands law. Critser listed his home address as 660 Morningside Drive in that case and he was represented by Lake County Council Attorney Ray Szarmach. The case was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecutor Barbara McConnell who moved to dismiss the action before trial.
In November, 2015, Lake County Commissioners Mike Repay, Roosevelt Allen and Gerry Scheub borrowed $12M for asbestos abatement and other improvements at the Lake County Government Complex. (See Meeting_Minutes_11-18-2015) Northwest Indiana Environmental
According to reports published in the Northwest Indiana Times, the taxpayers of Lake County were bilked for another $12M for asbestos abatement between 1993 and 2006. That project was said to have been halted due to cost overruns. Asbestos at the jail was removed pursuant to a federal court order in the 1980’s.
VAM labs will be paid $80,000 to monitor air quality while the asbestos is removed. Regional Compliance Management of Countryside, Illinois was paid $369,825 for “asbestos abatement project management services.”