The Allentown Morning Call reports on…
…the sentencing of Moshe Rubashkin:
HAZARDOUS WASTE IN ALLENTOWN 16-month sentence for dirty deed
Moshe Rubashkin of Brooklyn, N.Y., also must pay $450,000 in fines.
By Matt Birkbeck Of The Morning Call
An influential New York Jewish community leader was sentenced Tuesday to 16 months in federal prison for leaving hazardous waste inside an Allentown textile plant he once owned.
Moshe Rubashkin, 50, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was also ordered by U.S. District Judge James Knoll Gardner to pay $450,000 in in fines, which will be divided between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Allentown.
Rubashkin pleaded guilty to the charge in February. His son, Shalom, who was also charged by federal prosecutors in Philadelphia, will be sentenced in December.
Rubashkin owned and operated Montex Textiles, a textile dyeing, bleaching and weaving business on Sixth and Cumberland streets in south Allentown. He closed the business in 2001 but had stored numerous containers of hazardous waste without the necessary environmental permits. After fires gutted the closed, 41/2-story building, EPA officials ordered a cleanup of the property in October 2005 and with the city of Allentown disposed of numerous containers of hazardous waste.
''These defendants demonstrated an utter disregard for the safety of the community surrounding their Allentown business,'' said acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid. ''It is only proper that they should have to bear the cost of cleaning up the site and serve a term of imprisonment. The sentence handed down by Judge Gardner should serve as a wake-up call to all business owners that, in the long run, a cavalier attitude about the hazardous materials you are using or waste you are generating will cost you dearly.''
A Brooklyn bank won a $4 million foreclosure against Rubashkin in Lehigh County court in 2005 and the building was scheduled to be sold at a sheriff's sale just days before a second fire.
In 2002, Rubashkin was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $232,937 in restitution after federal prosecutors charged him with bank fraud after he bounced three Montex checks totaling $325,000 at First Union Bank.
Rubashkin is a community leader in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, the stronghold of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect of Orthodox Judaism.
His family's Iowa business, Agriprocessors, was raided by U.S. immigration agents in May. The nation's largest supplier of Kosher meat, its nearly 400 workers, mostly Guatemalans, were jailed and faced deportation illegal immigrants.