Asbestos companies suspected in Detroit demonstration program


Detroit’s demolition program is still grappling with the fallout of a explosive investigation that ended in the banishment of three companies from the program.

Catch up fast: The Inspector General investigation discovered how a major asbestos removal company in the demolition program circumvented environmental rules by creating shell companies with concealed ownership.

  • The program has a spotted registration to respect the environmental regulations put in place to ensure that the demolition sites do not endanger the health of the inhabitants.

Why is this important: More asbestos companies in the program are now under scrutiny for possible links to the company banished by the inspector general.

  • The city now expects a brief slowdown in demolitions as companies find new asbestos removal contractors.

Driving the news: At a contractors meeting last week, Demolition Manager LaJuan Counts advised program contractors to avoid using Detroit Environmental Solutions and City Abatement Services because they might be affiliated with companies or to individuals prohibited by the Inspector General.

  • The accounts did not describe the potential affiliation.

The other side: “Everything they said about my business is 100% false,” David Gillespie, owner of Detroit Environmental Services, told Axios.

  • City reduction services could not be reached.

The plot:Both companies can contact the city’s inspector general “to prove otherwise,” Counts said at the contractors‘ meeting.

  • The Inspector General’s office declined to comment.

Between the lines: The pool of demolition companies available to demolish vacant buildings keeps shrinking because companies have been suspended, evicted or simply left the program after facing too many headaches.

  • Fewer businesses means costs could rise and the pace of demolitions could slow.

The big picture: Detroit says its demolition program is the largest in the country, having destroyed more than 22,000 buildings since Mayor Mike Duggan took office in 2014.

  • The program has spent more than $250 million in federal dollars and now relies on proceeds from a $250 million voter-approved bond issue in 2020.


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