County of Marin - News Releases - Environmental Protection Settlement

For Immediate Release
January 02, 2019

County Successful in Environmental Protection Case

DA announces shared settlement regarding handling of asbestos

San Rafael, CA -- Marin County District Attorney Edward S. Berberian, along with nine other California district attorneys, announced that Monterey County Superior Court Judge Marla O. Anderson has ordered the Chicago-based Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., and their related companies MHC Operating Limited Partnership and Realty Systems, Inc., to pay $1.5 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution alleging the company failed to fully comply with laws related to the potential handling of asbestos in demolition and renovation activities.

The consent judgment agreed to by Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., MHC Operating Limited Partnership, and Realty Systems, Inc. (collectively, ELS) resolves allegations made in a civil enforcement lawsuit filed in Monterey County, and brought by the district attorneys of Marin, Monterey, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Fresno, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties.

The lawsuit alleged that from 2005 to 2014, ELS, an owner and operator of manufactured home parks and recreational vehicle resorts in California, performed demolition and renovation activities at a number of their California properties without fully complying with asbestos-related laws and regulations that required ELS to: inspect each facility or part of a facility where demolition or renovation operations occurred for the presence of asbestos prior to those operations occurring; provide the local air district or the California Air Resources Board with written notification at least 10 days prior to conducting demolition activities at their facilities; determine if any asbestos waste ELS generated was hazardous waste prior to disposal; and take worker safety precautions relating to the potential handling of or exposure to asbestos. ELS has over 40 properties throughout California.

"My office is dedicated to protecting the environment and the people of Marin County from potential exposure to hazardous air pollutants like asbestos which is unsafe at any exposure level," Berberian said.

Marin County has one ELS property, Contempo Marin in San Rafael, that had demolitions and/or renovations where violations occurred during the time period covered in the filed complaint. The District Attorney's Office is unaware of any residents of Contempo Marin being exposed to asbestos during the Marin demolition or renovation activities. 

ELS was cooperative throughout the investigation and quickly responded to enhance its policies and procedures related to complying with asbestos laws, rules and regulations during any ELS renovations and/or demolitions at their California properties.    

Under the settlement, ELS must pay $1 million in civil penalties and $250,000 to reimburse the costs of the investigation. ELS will be required to pay an additional $250,000 into a supplemental environmental program to install solar electric systems capable of generating a total of more than 100,000 kilowatt hours per year in renewable energy at one or more of their California properties. ELS will be be bound under the terms of an injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law.

Contact:

Andy Perez
Deputy District Attorney
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3072

 


Email: Andy Perez
www.marincounty.org