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Utah Restaurant Company Pleads Guilty to Clean Air Act Violation

Release Date: 07/13/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Stacie Keller, 202-564-4355 /

(7/13/05) On June 28, Wilshire Restaurant Group, Inc., owner of Marie Callender's Pie Shops, Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah to negligently releasing asbestos when the roof of the Marie Callender's restaurant in Midvale, Utah, was replaced. The plea agreement calls for the defendant to pay a $50,000 fine. In 1999, the defendant's employees at the restaurant noticed the roof was leaking and took measures to temporarily repair it. In April 1999, the company received a bid for replacing the roof and for properly disposing of its asbestos underlayment. In May 1999, the company sought a second bid, but a company employee failed to tell the roofing company that the underlayment contained asbestos. This second bid was lower, and the company let the contract to the low bidder. As a result, the asbestos underlayment was removed without following federal workplace standards and asbestos fibers were released into the air. Releasing asbestos into the air and not following federal workplace standards can lead to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which is a cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the Salt Lake City Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Utah.