Hotel is under new management; state officials say there are no health risks
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even after getting warnings from state health officials, the owner and manager of the Frisco Holiday Inn continued to rent rooms contaminated with asbestos, the office of the Colorado Attorney General said in indictment against against four Coloradans and two businesses, New Vision Hotels and NVH Construction.
Three workers at the hotel are named as having been exposed to the asbestos hazard, as well as 22 guests, including children.
According to the indictment, the owner and manager of the hotel knowingly failed to follow state regulatory requirements by cutting transite boards in the hotel, releasing asbestos and contaminating several rooms. If convicted, the men face the possibility of six months in prison or a $500,000 fine.
The indictment dates back to work being done in Nov. 2009. At this point, the asbestos has been cleaned up and the hotel is safe for guests once again, said assistant attorney general Richard Baird. Current manager John Duarte said he had no comment on the indictment.
“Exposure to asbestos can cause serious — even fatal — respiratory diseases, so it must be handled safely and legally to protect the public,” said Lori Hanson, special agent-in-charge of the Denver office of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Enforcement Division. “EPA takes allegations of asbestos-related violations very seriously and we will continue to work with the state on this prosecution.” More info at the EPA asbestos page.
The Office of the Attorney General investigated the case and secured the indictment with the assistance of the Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force, the Air Quality Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigations Division.
From the indictment:
Adam Pietraszek, Nikolai Semenshin, Yarek Gora and Richard Para are suspected of failing to obtain a permit in October 2009 for asbestos abatement related to renovations they were performing at the Holiday Inn located at 1129 North Summit Boulevard in Frisco. Once the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment learned of the renovations, which resulted in asbestos contaminating rooms at the hotel, they prohibited the owner of the hotel, Pietraszek, from renting out the affected rooms.
Despite the prohibition, Pietraszek, the owner of the hotel, is suspected of ordering the housekeeping staff to clean the affected rooms. According to the indictment, in addition to exposing the housekeeping staff to the asbestos contamination Pietraszek also continued to rent out the rooms to unsuspecting guests.
The defendants are suspected of causing or contributing to a hazardous substance incident, a class-four felony; violating the Air Quality Control Act, an unclassified felony; and violating the Air Quality Control Act, an unclassified misdemeanor. If convicted of causing or contributing to a hazardous substance incident, the defendants could face up to six years in prison or a $500,000 fine.
Prosecutors for the Office of the Attorney General will present the state’s case against the defendants in Summit County District Court.
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