Federal officials sue Maine demolition firm over unpaid fines

Lawsuit seeks to collect $272,000 in OSHA fines from Downeast Construction.

March 18, 2015

Federal workplace safety officials have sued Scarborough, Maine-based Downeast Construction Corp., seeking to collect fines for a series of safety violations during a demolition and asbestos removal operation at the Forster Mill complex in Wilton, Maine.

According to an article in The Bangor Daily News, U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty filed the lawsuit, seeking to enforce $271,979 worth of penalties assessed by the Occupational Hazard and Safety Administration (OSHA) after inspections in 2011.

The lawsuit alleges that Downeast Construction owner Ryan Byther has not paid or contested any of the penalties and seeks a judgment from the court for the cost of the assessed penalties and interest since the inspections.

According to the lawsuit, officials attempted to deliver notifications of the penalties to Byther in 2011 but later discovered he was in prison on charges of theft by deception and left the notification of penalties at his residence.

According to reports, Byther’s company was conducting the demolition until July 2011 when workers told federal officials the company was improperly disposing of asbestos from the building. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspected the building later that year and worked with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to hire a new contractor to finish removing the asbestos.