Timeline of Events in Providence Scrap Metal Corruption Lawsuit
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sims, which came to takeover Promet's facilities in October 2011, had along with one of the plaintiffs faced stiff penalties from the RI DEM for environmental violations in 2012.
The lawsuit filed alleges that Sims underpaid the plaintiffs by manipulating scale weights, and labeling nonferrous metals as cheaper material, along with other allegations.
Sims shot back with its own counterclaim agains the plaintiffs -- the case goes to a pre-trial scheduling conference on December 5th. Scroll down to see a timeline of key events to date.
Providence Allens Ave Scrap Metal Company Hit with RICO Lawsuit
In September 2013, three Rhode Island businesses filed a RICO Act suit against Sims Metal Management, who owns and operates two metal scrap yards on Allens Avenue in Providence. SMM filed both answers to the complaint -- as well as a counterclaim.
Below is a timeline of some of the key events in Sims and waterfront developments, as well as dates referenced in the lawsuit -- and counterclaim.
1. October 2011
Sims Metal Management purchases Providence Export--formerly Promet Marine Services Corporation, which began in 1974, "providing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, voyage-repair services to a variety of vessels trafficking in ports of the Northeastern United States, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Portland, Maine.
The world's largest metal recycler, Sims Metal Management is an Australian company with more than 250 locations on five continents and more than 6,200 employees. In the United States, Sims and its joint ventures are located in 21 states and employ more than 4,400 people.
2. March 2012
According to Sims Metal Management's (SMM) counterclaim filed to the lawsuit in District Court, "on or about March 16, 2012, SMM agreed to advance Rhode Island Recycled Metals $40,000.00 against the delivery of scrap metal to SMM....Rhode Island Recycled Metals has not repaid the $40,000.00 advance."
4. May 2012
Both Sims Metal Management (SMM) and RI Recycled Metals (RIRM) were cited by the RI DEM in 2012 for failing to construct storm water controls to “properly manage and treat the storm water runoff associated with their business.”
The DEM issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to RIRM on May 7, 2012 for “water pollution violations,” and the company has “submitted plans to the DEM to construct storm water controls to address the violations alleged in the NOV.
SMM also received a NOV from the DEM on that May date of 2012 and was issued a permit two months later to get into compliance. The company paid the full penalty of $25,000 for the violation and had “until June 2013 to complete all the required work in the permit.”
6. March 2013
Less than two weeks after Providence longshoremen picketed on Allens Avenue to protest the hiring practices of Sims Metal (SMM) recycling yard, a group of union members were back at the site to express their “concerns” with the scrap-metal operations of Sims and neighboring company Rhode Island Recycled Metals, LLC (RIRM).
Michael F. Sabitoni, Business manager and Secretary/Treasurer of the Rhode Island Laborers District Council and Labors Local Union 271, said his members were protesting what he called the “bad perception on the industry” that the two companies were portraying due to a lack of “environmental protections” taking plan in and around the Allens Avenue area.
“Obviously, this union action is not about our environmental record, but is really about several local unions’ displeasure about jobs at this location being non-union,” said Sims spokesman Daniel Strechay at the time.
7. June 2013
According to the initial RICO lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, "in or about June 2013, employees of Innercity reviewed the books and records...and discovered a discrepancy between the amount of scrap metal it had purchased from its customers and the amount it had sold to SMM, according to SMM's payments" -- which was estimated to be $117,000.
Innercity contacts SMM in August to review its records of deliveries.
8. Fall 2013
Innercity Recycling, K&R Auto Salvage, and Rhode Island Recycled Metals file RICO Act suit vs. Sims in September.
Sims responds to complaint, and files counterclaim in October.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for Thursday, December 5th with Chief US Disctrict Judge Mary M. Lisi.
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