Company and Employees Plead to Dumping in Pensacola Bay

September 01, 2000

Odebrecht-Metric (OM), a joint venture between Odebrecht Contractors of Florida, Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., and Metric Constructors, Inc., North Carolina; and three of its employees (Frank Doddi, general superintendent; Steven Spry, assistant superintendent; and Marcellino Romero, assistant superintendent) all pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola to negligently violating the Clean Water Act.

Between January 1997 and March 1999, the defendants illegally disposed of construction waste such as concrete and waste cut-off bridge pilings into the East Bay and Pensacola Bay during the construction of the Garcon Point Bridge. Illegally dumping construction wastes into bays can damage habitat for fish and other aquatic life.

The plea agreement calls for Odebrecht to pay a $1 million fine and also pay $2,423,000 in restitution to the Garcon Point Restoration Trust for cleaning up and restoring East Bay and Pensacola Bay. In addition, Odebrecht also will pay $42,000 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Law Enforcement, $20,500 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, $10,500 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Submerged Land Section, $2,000 to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and $2,000 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Marine Patrol.

Odebrecht also has agreed to purchase and donate 60 acres of land in Santa Rosa County to the state of Florida and pay $500,000 to the Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund to supplement the financing of future environmental crimes investigations in Florida. This is the largest federal penalty to date for an environmental crime in the Northern District of Florida.

Doddi, Spry and Romero will potentially face maximum sentences of one year in prison and/or fines of $25,000 per day of violation.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard-Criminal Investigative Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection-Division of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola.

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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