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Willmax Capital Management, Inc., is being ordered to pay for medical services related to exposing a number of Denver residents the company to deadly asbestos. This is part of the company’s five-year condition of probation and will be conducted at National Jewish Health, a respiratory hospital in Denver.
The probation resulted from violating an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule in 2016. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the EPA Office of Criminal Investigations, Willmax Capital Management did not inspect its facilities for asbestos before making renovations.
The company also negligently released asbestos into the air, putting its workers and others into imminent danger of death or serious injury. That incident occurred in 2014 and affected more than 100 people.
Asbestos can cause serious injury or death because it can lead to asbestosis and the fatal mesothelioma cancer. Due to this, Colorado has a number of state-specific asbestos laws and regulations that companies are required to follow.
Victims of asbestos exposure often run into expensive treatment costs, which can reach as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Added costs like travel and room and board while visiting cancer centers and specialists can also become a burden to mesothelioma patients and their families.
“The defendants’ negligence in this case exposed more than 100 people to asbestos and jeopardized their health and safety,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Martinez, who oversees the EPA’s Criminal Enforcement Program in Colorado.
According to Martinez, “This plea agreement was negotiated to provide the victims with restitution and medical assistance they would not otherwise have received, and this case serves as a warning that violating rules that protect against public endangerment can have serious consequences.”
The apartment management firm’s Senior Corporate Manager John Tom Williams was sentenced to eight months in prison by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Babcock. He was also fined $100,000.
Willmax Capital Management not only has apartments in Denver, but also Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Houston. The complex in Denver is called "The Overlook at Mile High."
Come August, a hearing will take place to determine the amount of restitution to be paid by Willmax Capital Management.