Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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?
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.....
United Airlines’ illegal abatement at former World Headquarters exposing employees to airborne asbestos fibers
Marty Watters, Investigative Reporter
United Airlines has been illegally removing asbestos from its former World Headquarters and training center, knowingly exposing its employees to airborne asbestos fibers.
Wow! If United can do something this deplorable to its own employees, how seriously do they take the safety of the flying public?
The laws and regulations governing the removal and disposal of asbestos are expensive, burdensome and impose substantial liabilities.
Who needs that headache? Certainly not a Chicago-based, politically-connected, large corporation like United Airlines.
United management apparently determined that it is better for their bottom line to simply ignore those pesky laws!
For example, United recently proceeded to secretly remove asbestos spray-on fire proofing material from classrooms at its training center in Elk Grove Village, IL.
Here's how they went about it:
United hired outside contractor A&E Services, Inc. to come in and scrape the asbestos-containing material from the classroom ceilings. This was done without the mandated notifications and safety measures required by law.
In addition, A&E was clandestinely bagging the asbestos material and related contaminated waste. Then the contractor illegally transported the bags filled with asbestos to a dumpster that Robert Nykaza, the owner of A&E, had secretly placed in a friend's residential driveway miles away from the United training center.
This was clearly an egregious violation of EPA regulations.
While all this was going on, United employees were unwittingly being exposed to cancer-causing airborne asbestos fibers.
But wait, it gets even better.
A&E left behind piles of the friable asbestos material on top of the duct work for the building's ventilation system..
United employees were then directed to enter the asbestos contaminated classrooms and install a suspended ceiling below the duct work where large amounts of loose asbestos fibers came to rest, concealing them from view.
End result: United classrooms are now ready for more unsuspecting employees to fill their lungs with airborne asbestos fibers.
This is just one of the many examples of how United disregards the safety and health of its employees when dealing with the serious asbestos problem it has at its former World Headquarters in suburban Chicago.
Although United was contacted multiple times, corporate officials have so far declined to respond to my request for comment.
Instead, through their attorneys at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, these same United officials have made convoluted arguments to a judge trying to impede my investigation.
Does United Airlines really believe that the federal courts should suspend the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and infringe on the freedom of the press to cover up their own wrongdoing?