dogbo wrote:Also, there seems to be a lot of energy here to convict Knapp of wrong doing based on a newspaper article. These are only acquisitions at this point as far as I have read.
4th&Court wrote:dogbo wrote:Also, there seems to be a lot of energy here to convict Knapp of wrong doing based on a newspaper article. These are only acquisitions at this point as far as I have read.
Accusations, I believe you mean.
hawk61401 wrote:Even if the building is devoid of any asbestos now, a lot of harm might have been done.
hawk61401 wrote:Sure, it's easy to say the situation is overblown if you haven't worked, lived, or visited the building in the past three years. Even if the building is devoid of any asbestos now, a lot of harm might have been done.
I didn't live there (I'm pretty sure no one has yet) but I have visited plenty of times in the last 3 years. I'm not concerned at all. If there is asbestos there they need to fix it, but absent proof that Knapp knowingly or negligently avoided regulations, I don't think nailing him to the wall is the answer.
Knapp and his construction manager both admitted that workers who were not certified to remove asbestos tore the material out of the Equitable Building, according to DNR documents.
The workers wore none of the required protective equipment, Knapp and his construction manager admitted. The workers did not seal the area where the asbestos was located. Nor did they test the air for asbestos, as required by worker-safety regulations.
I didn't live there (I'm pretty sure no one has yet) but I have visited plenty of times in the last 3 years. I'm not concerned at all.
Young DSM Social Club wrote:So far, I think I am the only person on this forum who worked there when this started, and I am at least somewhat concerned ... so I imagine those who were there longer, would be even moreso.
2 developers fined in errors at Equitable
By PERRY BEEMAN ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ REGISTER STAFF WRITER ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ March 12, 2008
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State worker-safety officials have fined Equitable Building developers more than $21,000 for improper removal of asbestos during work to convert part of the historic downtown Des Moines building into condominiums.
The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Bureau fined Oakmoor Management Co./Equitable L.P. $10,175 for failing to have a trained supervisor at the asbestos removal and for failing to properly equip and train the workers at the Equitable Building.
Jacobson Staffing Co. L.C. of Des Moines, which provided workers, was fined $11,250 for similar offenses.
The companies have the right to appeal.
Prominent Des Moines developer Bob Knapp is converting the upper floors of the 19-story, 84-year-old building into condominiums.
Also on Tuesday, a state environmental panel ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â after getting an earful from Equitable tenants irate they weren't told they were in danger of asbestos exposure ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â unanimously voted to refer environmental violations to the attorney general's office so a higher-than-usual fine could be considered. The attorney general could seek fines of $10,000 a day; the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a limit of $10,000 total on fines.
Charles Becker, Knapp's lawyer, declined to comment. Jacobson officials couldn't be reached.
The firms are required to post a notice about the labor violations prominently in the building.
Tenants still wonder if they'll get sick ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â decades from now ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â from breathing asbestos fibers. The strands can scar lungs if inhaled, causing lung diseases or cancer.
"It just makes me sick to my stomach," said Kelly O'Berry, who with her husband bought a condo on the 15th floor in April. "I'm very disappointed with the DNR" and other agencies, O'Berry said.
She didn't blame Knapp, saying, "Bob Knapp is a good guy."
Equitable representatives didn't show up for their 1 p.m. appointment at the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission meeting at which the panel heard details of asbestos violations over 1 1/2 years of work at Equitable.
Construction continues at the building, which still contains asbestos, said natural resources department lawyer Kelli Book.
John Bouslog, a partner in the Dreher, Simpson and Jensen, P.C., law firm on the building's second floor, said the tenants are all worried. They also are angry that no signs were posted, or evacuation orders given ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â by any of three state and local health agencies or the resources department ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â after the resources department investigated an anonymous tip in September.
"Multiple thousands pass through there on a weekly basis," Bouslog said. "It bothers us tremendously that we were kept in the dark, for four months, by DNR.
"Every tenant in that building is very, very disappointed by the response."
"One secretary is pregnant," Bouslog said. "Is she in jeopardy? Is the baby in jeopardy? I hope not.
"We found out about this by reading The Des Moines Register," he said. "That is not how someone working in the building 10 hours a day should find out."
The day after the Register printed the article to which Bouslog referred, Knapp called his cell phone to discuss the situation.
Bouslog said that his firm has no plans to sue and that Knapp has been cooperative.
The Dreher firm hired a lab that found no asbestos at the firm's office. Separate testing of the James Law Firm on the sixth floor found asbestos in carpet samples.
No public agency posted any notice in the building, tenants said.
The DNR's Book acknowledged that the department didn't post a notice, but she said she isn't sure that department has the power to order the building vacated. The department did order work stopped at one point, but not all workers complied.
The public commission agenda for Tuesday's meeting listed the Equitable issue only as an "air quality" matter and did not mention asbestos.
"This commission should look at your staff, what they did do, what they should have done, to protect the public and the people that visit that building," Bouslog said.
"Did the owner drop the ball? I defer to you," he said.
"But as a taxpayer, I think the regulators dropped the ball. If there is such a bad problem building, vacate it. If a notice had been posted, we should have vacated" like tenants did during the flood of 1993, he said.
Environmental commissioners Paul Johnson of Decorah and Susan Heathcote of Des Moines urged the resources department to review its public notice procedures.
Reporter Perry Beeman can be reached at (515) 284-8538 or [email protected]
Court records show that control of the property has been transferred to a receiver. An attorney for Vantus, Thomas Burke, says tenants of the building should not be affected by the foreclosure.
Knapp will pay record fine for asbestos in Equitable building
Financially troubled Des Moines developer Bob Knapp has agreed to a record $500,000 fine for mishandling asbestos at downtown Des MoinesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ historic Equitable Building.
Better Life dude wrote:Knapp has more than likely opened himself up to civil litigation as a result of this fine. Not a good outcome for trying to cut corners in the demolition phase.
Mototail wrote: The point is that the downtown region needs to realize that they have stiff competition from pricing in the suburbs.
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