Per the Western Wayne News:
“It’s his fault.”
Mayor Dave Snow blames Seth Smith, owner of Cornerstone Trading Group LLC, for hazardous conditions at a three-property complex that burned for more than three days last week. Smith stored tons of plastics in six buildings that total nearly 255,000 square feet on the 13.8-acre complex.
The article indicates that Smith and Cornerstone ignored clean up orders. The city lacked the resources to undertake a multi-million dollar clean up on its own.
The City had at least begun the process of securing an EPA grant to clean the place up and had entered into an agreement whereby Smith, as owner of the plastics, would remove the plastics and other materials and sell them.
“This was a multi-million-dollar undertaking, and for a city government to redirect millions of dollars away from city services and into cleaning up someone else’s mess is not a precedent we should ever set,” [Mayor] Snow said. “He was made very aware through various processes that this is his mess. He has a court order, and he disregarded these orders. He left the mess in place and everyone’s worst fears came to light, and he is responsible for this.”
Cost was just one factor in a possible city cleanup. The scope of clearing away the plastics would be incredibly large, beyond city capability; the plastics need a place or places for disposal, something Smith could provide with his overseas buyers; and First Bank Richmond had a security interest on the plastics inventory as loan collateral.
“We would have been taking materials technically owned by the bank,” [City Attorney] Sickmann said, adding there was a process with the bank to try and resolve the issue.