Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Witness: Chemicals Dumped Former Manager of LCP Testifies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Witness: Chemicals Dumped Former Manager of LCP Testifies

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- A former manager of the LCP Chemicals-Georgia Inc. plant testified in federal court yesterday that someone purposely dumped hazardous chemicals into the environment.

Hugh L. Croom, a prosecution witness in the trial of three former LCP officials accused of polluting the environment, said caustic soda contaminated with mercury was released five times.

The caustic soda leaked onto the floor of a production building and flowed into the environment, Croom said. The releases are part of the charges against Christian A. Hansen Jr., his son, Randall W. Hansen, both of New Jersey, and Alfred R. Taylor of Brunswick.

The elder Hansen, who was chief executive officer of the Hanlin Group Inc., LCP's parent company, and Taylor, who managed the Brunswick plant during some of the alleged violations, face a maximum of 27 years in prison.

The younger Hansen, who was the Hanlin Group's treasurer and chief operating officer, faces a maximum of 24 years in prison.

The three men were indicted in May by a federal grand jury in Savannah on 42 counts, covering a period from July 1985 to February 1994.

The indictment says they purposely discharged dangerous pollutants into the environment, stored hazardous wastes without a permit, endangered employees and others with the unlawful storage and disposal of those wastes, harmed endangered wood storks and committed conspiracy.

Christian Hansen and Taylor are also charged with failing to notify regulatory agencies of dangerous chemical releases, including mercury, chlorine and caustic soda.

Croom testified he managed the plant from late August 1992 until early 1993. After that, he returned to Acme, N.C., to manage another Hanlin Group plant there.

At times, he said, he did double duty from Acme in managing both plants. He said his signature often appeared on company documents he had never seen.

There was no testimony as to who signed those documents.

Croom said he was reluctant to take the job in Brunswick because of poor employee morale, the plant's increasingly poor condition and the accumulation of hazardous chemicals in a production facility. …

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