10Nov/160

United Airlines asbestos victims want to be heard

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

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Victims of United Airlines' illegal asbestos removal write a letter asking to be heard.

Perhaps it's time for Congress to investigate why the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission is refusing to hear what they have to say?

(Judge okay with perjury and fraud in his court!)

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3Oct/160

United Airlines manager to employees: “it would be difficult to prove” United was removing asbestos

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

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In direct response to a recent article published by Illinoispaytoplay.com, United Airline's facilities manager Sylvia Empen recently called a mandatory meeting of employees at the airlines former World Headquarters (WHQ).

During the meeting, Empen told the very same employees who were forced to participate in the removal of asbestos without their knowledge that "it would be difficult to prove" that United has been removing asbestos from that facility.

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Difficult to prove? Really?

Aside from those employees who were forced to remove asbestos, many others actually walked into the areas where unskilled day laborers were illegally removing asbestos and got a face and lung full of the known carcinogen.

Wait, it gets even more ridiculous than that.

Empen then went on to explain to these eye witnesses that her belief that "it would be difficult to prove..." was based on the fact that the 68 invoices that authorized payment of over $1.1million to A&E Services, Inc. to remove asbestos at the WHQ say "insulation" and not "asbestos".

Considering that asbestos IS insulation, Ms. Empen apparently thought that the employees did not know that.

However, much to Empen's dismay, the United employees were not about to tolerate her latest batch of lies and were not shy about telling her so.

They also proceeded to remind Empen that everyone at United knew that A&E Services, Inc. had been removing asbestos.

One of those employees, Jane Clifford, who had asbestos fall on her head due to the illegal removal, went as far as to tell Empen that it is "fraud" to claim that A&E was not removing asbestos.

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Empen responded "that's between OSHA and A&E" and that is not her concern.

--------------------------------------------------
From: Marty Watters
To: Sukhvir Kaur (OSHA)
Cc: Angie Loftus (OSHA)
Sent: September 7, 2016 at 2:37 PM
Subject: Fwd: United claims no asbestos removal

United Airlines manager caught lying to OSHA in asbestos case
illinoispaytoplay.com/2016/08/31/united-airlines-manager-caught-lying-to-osha-in-asbestos-case/

------ Original Message ------

From: Jane Clifford (United Airlines)
To: Marty Watters
Sent: November 11, 2015 at 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: United claims no asbestos removal

That's a lie

On Nov 10, 2015, at 10:55 AM, Marty Watters wrote:

Jane

United Airlines is now claiming that A&E Services did no asbestos removal from the campus in Elk Grove where you work.

Call me.

Marty Watters
[redacted]

-----Original Message-----

From: Marty Watters
To: Jane Clifford (United Airlines)
Sent: October 7, 2015 at 6:00 PM
Subject: Re: OSHA Investigative Findings Letter and Notification of Citations

Jane

You have a right to see the the asbestos surveys and the records of any work done in that area.

United Airlines must provide that information.

Marty Watters

-----Original Message-----

From: Jane Clifford (United Airlines)
To: Marty Watters
Sent: October 7, 2015 at 4:52 PM
Subject: Re: OSHA Investigative Findings Letter and Notification of Citations

What concerns me is not just this but also in core 5 of south bldg. you know what happened to me as you provided me the log sheet where the event was written. What are my rights? How do I know A&E abated that area properly?
----------------------------------------------------

Something tells me it is likely that United's attorneys will soon be applying duct tape to Sylvia Empen's mouth.

Bit of advice, Ms. Empen: Pull that tape off your mouth in one swift motion when the FEDS come calling.

It will be a lot less painful for you that way.

31Aug/160

United Airlines manager caught lying to OSHA in asbestos case

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

Sylvia Empen

Sylvia Empen

Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials Sukhvir Kaur and Angeline Loftus recently confirmed that United Airlines facilities maintenance manager Sylvia Empen lied to OSHA officials, and that by doing so Empen broke the law and could face criminal charges.

And as with many federal cases, it could be the cover-up that ultimately lands people in jail.

And for her part in the illegal removal and dumping of asbestos from buildings at United's former World Headquarters (WHQ), jail might be just where Empen is headed.

 DOJ Stresses Individual Accountability in New “Yates Memo”

Enhanced Criminal Prosecutions of Worker Safety Violations – Employers Beware

Here are the facts:

Empen contracted A&E Services Inc. to remove asbestos from United's former WHQ.

A&E Services hired Mexican day labor on an ongoing basis to illegally remove and dump the asbestos.

In doing so A&E exposed United employees and the public to vast amounts of airborne asbestos fibers.

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United employees then filed an official complaint with OSHA.

Ms. Empen told OSHA officials who were investigating that complaint for the record that A&E Services was removing fiberglass insulation and not asbestos.

Now thanks to whistleblowers at United, OSHA officials have learned that A&E Services was in fact removing large amounts of asbestos - not fiberglass insulation - from United's former WHQ, and that Empen lied to them during the investigation.

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Thanks to Empen's lies, OSHA prematurely closed its investigation. As a result, United employees and members of the public are still being exposed to airborne asbestos fibers throughout the entire campus of United's former WHQ.

It has also been established in recent meetings with OSHA officials that during their interviews with United employees, OSHA investigators did not inform the employees of their whistleblower protection rights.

That will be very important moving forward due to the fact that United employees have since endured physical threats and retaliations at work for telling OSHA investigators and United management what they knew about the illegal asbestos removal.

Steps are now being taken to ensure that United employees begin receiving the workplace protections that they are due under the federal whistleblower protection laws.

Furthermore, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon has been informed of this situation and has even received a referral from the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate these developments due to concerns that United has violated the Non-Prosecution Agreement it entered into in a public corruption case with that office.

The question now is: How high up the United Airlines management chain does this cover-up go?

Oscar Munoz, does the buck stop with you?

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10Jun/160

ALERT: United Airlines employees being tested for asbestos exposure!

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

Oscar Munoz

Oscar Munoz

 

United Airlines has finally admitted to exposing employees and visitors to airborne asbestos fibers at its former World Headquarters (WHQ) in Elk Grove Village IL. and is providing medical testing and monitoring to those who have been exposed to the airborne asbestos.

However, there is one problem.

United management is not notifying people (estimated to be in the thousands) that they were exposed and that medical help is available!

--------------------------------------------------------------
----Original Message-----
From: Marty Watters
To: Christina Landgraf (UAL Counsel)
Cc: Oscar Munoz (UAL CEO), Brett Hart (UAL General Counsel)
Sent: June 8, 2016 at 11:51 AM
Subject: Fwd: Asbestos medical testing (United Airlines)

Ms. Landgraf

As you know, United Airlines has quietly been providing medical testing for employees who are aware that they have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers at United's former World Headquarters in Elk Grove Village IL. due to the abatements performed by A&E Services Inc.

When is United going to make an official announcement to inform all those who don't realize that they have been exposed?

Marty Watters
[redacted]

-----Original Message-----
From: Marty Watters
To: Geoffrey Celander (UAL Health & Safety)
Sent: June 7, 2016 at 11:50 AM
Subject: Asbestos medical testing (United Airlines)

Mr. Geoffrey Celander

United Airlines is now offering employees medical testing due to the fact that they have been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers at United's former World Headquarters in Elk Grove village IL.

Has United Airlines made an official announcement informing all employees of this new development?

Marty Watters
[redacted]

United Airlines’ illegal abatement at former World Headquarters exposing employees to airborne asbestos fibers

http://illinoispaytoplay.com/2015/07/27/united-airlines-illegal-abatement-at-former-world-headquarters-exposing-employees-to-airborne-asbestos-fibers/
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess United's CEO, Oscar Munoz, thinks that what people don't know can't hurt them.

Or is it that Oscar knows that if thousands of people knew that they were exposed to asbestos, it could hurt United's stock price?

I'm thinking the latter.

However, as we all know, being exposed to airborne asbestos can not only hurt you, it can in fact kill you.

So if you have ever worked at or visited United Airlines' former WHQ, you'll want to contact Sylvia Empen (847-700-1144) at United Airlines so that you can receive the proper paperwork to insure that you get medical attention.

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Don't worry about the bill. United Airlines will get that for you.

Or should I say United's shareholders will get that for you?

 

Is United's former WHQ a potential asbestos superfund site? More to come.....

4Jan/160

United Airlines’ political protection in Chicago – EPA and OSHA refuse to enforce their own laws

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

 

 

United Airlines executives were so confident of the protection racket they enjoy in Chicago that they continued to break asbestos laws - right in plain view of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors.

This display of arrogance is so unbelievably brazen considering the fact that the EPA and OSHA put other people in prison for breaking these same asbestos laws.

In March of 2015, the EPA and OSHA received multiple complaints that United was illegally removing and dumping asbestos from its former World Headquarters (WHQ) in suburban Chicago.

So they begrudgingly opened a so-called " joint investigation".

What followed is a blatant display of government corruption that is hard to fathom even for Chicago.

For example: During the EPA's and OSHA's so-called "joint investigation" of illegal asbestos removal at United's former WHQ, government officials were given the exact time and location of crimes in progress at the very same facility they were supposedly investigating.

---------------------------------------------------

From: Marty Watters

Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 3:28 PM
To: Linda Rosen (EPA)
Subject: United Airlines (illegal asbestos removal & dumping)

Linda

A&E Services, Inc. is presently removing asbestos illegally by the dry removal method at United Airlines' campus located at 1200 E. Algonquin Rd. Elk Grove Village IL.

The work that I am bringing to your attention this time, is being done in machine room 1 (boiler room) of the south building. A&E is scraping the friable spray-on asbestos fireproofing material off the ceiling deck. Again, no notice was given and regulations are not being followed. And once again, the asbestos that was removed from the ceiling is being transported to another location for undisclosed dumping.

And as we discussed, the illegal dumping of asbestos is definitely with-in your purview.

The attached pictures are of the area where this illegal abatement is happening.

The work is being done in the evening.

You said you need to catch them in the act. Well go do so.

As required by whistleblower protection mandates I must insist that the attached pictures and the existence of them not be disclosed to United Airlines or anyone outside of the EPA until consent is given.

Marty Watters
(redacted)

United Airlines Warned Employees: ‘Avoid Breathing Airborne Asbestos Fibers’

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/united-airlines-warned-employees-avoid-breathing-airborne

United Airlines Told Employees to “Avoid Breathing Airborne Asbestos Fibers”? We’d Call That #MissionImpossible

http://baronandbudd.com/protecting-whats-right/2015/01/avoid-breathing-airborne-asbestos-fibers/

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In the days to follow, United's asbestos contractor, A&E Services Inc., completed this particular illegal asbestos removal project and then moved on to another without even one visit from EPA or OSHA inspectors.

Clearly the EPA and OSHA didn't really want to catch United in the act.

Luckily someone else caught them in the act - on video.

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Oops! The bad guys didn't see that coming.

And now corrupt government officials are trying their best to escape the fact that a video recording of this illegal asbestos removal project exists.

They also did not anticipate me obtaining A&E Services' invoices for all the illegal asbestos removal work it was doing for United.

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Over the course of ten months, A&E submitted 68 separate illegal asbestos abatement invoices and was paid immediately upon completion of each job.

Under normal circumstances, where a company is not politically protected and the law is enforced, each and every one of those 68 separate illegal asbestos jobs would have garnered a minimum of at least one $70K "willful violation" citation from OSHA. That's a total of $4.7 million in fines just for starters.

In addition, A&E Services owner Robert Nykaza - along with numerous United managers - would be singing like canaries to stay out of prison.

And most troubling of all for the big-shots at United, this would all lead to the opening of a very big can of worms involving financial records, corporate filings and false disclosure statements.

That's when the fun would really begin!

Of course, United executives could not afford to let that happen. Not when they could just buy political protection.

Needless to say, this kind of corruption causes government officials to go completely deaf and blind to all things bad. And also explains why Nykaza has been threatening me and a United Airlines whistleblower because we are exposing them. I'll have more on Nykaza at a later date.

Even in Chicago, only big well-connected corporations like United are afforded this level of political protection.

Put simply, United Airlines enjoys above-the-law status for the moment.

The Question is: With more proof of United's criminal behavior on the way, how long will that last?

More to come....

18Nov/150

United Airlines’ asbestos cover-up: OSHA Director commits perjury

Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter

OSHA Director Angeline Loftus

OSHA Director Angeline Loftus

 

The fact that United Airlines is claiming to have lost all records of its illegal removal and disposal of asbestos from its former World Headquarters in suburban Chicago should come as no surprise.

Did anyone really think United was going to confess to willfully exposing people to a known carcinogen? Of course not.

(United Airlines’ illegal abatement at former World Headquarters exposing employees to airborne asbestos fibers)

What did surprise me and what should trouble anyone who believes in honest government is this:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is accepting United's "lost records" defense even though I personally provided OSHA with copies of the very same records United claims are missing. Records that clearly would be considered inculpatory evidence in a criminal case against United.

Even more disturbing, OSHA area director Angeline Loftus has now signed a sworn declaration that was filed in Administrative Law Judge Dennis Phillips' court stating that these damning asbestos records do not exist. An assertion that Loftus knows is a complete falsehood.

Ooops! That's called perjury, Angie. That's a crime.

And so is covering up United's criminal behavior.

 

Here's an excerpt from Loftus' sworn declaration:

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Loftus refuses to acknowledge the existence of the so-called "missing records" because they prove that United was illegally removing asbestos from its former WHQ

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Loftus also knows that the so-called "missing records" reveal that United officials were committing accounting fraud in a quest to conceal the airlines' asbestos liabilities and related criminal behavior.

Over the course of ten months, A&E Services Inc. of Barrington, IL (Robert Nykaza) was paid over $1.1 million to illegally remove asbestos-containing insulation from United's former WHQ.

Here's how the scam worked:

A&E would submit differently worded invoices with the same invoice number for work performed. The more descriptive invoice, which deceptively referred to asbestos-containing material as "fiberglass insulation", would get buried in facilities manager Sylvia Empen's file.

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Meanwhile the less descriptive line item invoice would be submitted for payment in full on the personal company credit card of one of several United managers - in many cases before the work was even completed.

 

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Paying by credit card allowed United to circumvent internal controls, thus concealing its illegal asbestos abatement and forgoing all the nasty liabilities that go with it.

Ms. Loftus was made aware of all of this before signing the sworn declaration.

There is no question that United would have liked these records to just disappear.

Unfortunately for United, they did not.

The questions to ask now are:

Why is OSHA protecting United Airlines when it should be prosecuting it for endangering employees and the public?

And

Does OSHA area director Angie Loftus have a summer home in South Carolina like United's friend at the New Jersey Port Authority?

I called Ms. Loftus for comment. She did not deny that she had committed perjury. She did refer me to attorneys in the Secretary of Labors office. I am still waiting to hear back from them.

Much more to come.....