Aug. 17, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
The New York Attorney General and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation have filed a joint lawsuit against a Gotti-owned auto-parts business that has allegedly been releasing dangerous chemicals and oil into the environment.
The case was filed Aug. 12 against LSM Auto Parts & Recycling, an automobile salvage yard located at 155-11 Liberty Ave. in Jamaica. Carmine Gotti Agnello Jr., the grandson of the late Gambino mob boss John Gotti, is listed as one of the owners of LSM, while the Liberty Avenue property is owned by Victoria Gotti, John Gotti’s daughter, according to the lawsuit.
The company, which is involved in dismantling vehicles for auto parts, failed to dispose of the toxic fluids in a safe manner, according to the suit. The waste—which includes engine oil, gasoline, transmission fluid as well as antifreeze/coolant—was often poured directly into the soil, contaminating the ground water.
“If you make a mess, you clean it up. Most learn this old adage before they speak their first words, but it’s clear LSM never did. Instead, LSM flouted our environmental protection laws and mismanaged toxic chemicals and pollutants which pose a serious, long-term threat,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a statement.
LSM allegedly ignored critical regulations surrounding the cleanup of toxic automobile waste and was responsible for significant amounts of oil spillage in the Jamaica area.
Employees, according to the suit, often drained vehicle fluids directly onto the ground instead of into a waste container, thus allowing the chemicals to directly permeate the soil and groundwater.
Furthermore, LSM allegedly stored gas and other hazardous fluid waste in large plastic tanks, which were neither properly sealed nor capable of withstanding the heat or necessary containment of potential combustion.
Gas, oil, and antifreeze regularly spilled out of the salvage yard and into the street, running down sidewalks and into storm drains.
According to the suit, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation contacted LSM in 2019 to alert them of the violations and propose an administrative resolution to rectify the problem.
LSM failed to respond, according to the suit, but their consultants suggested a plan for remediation was forthcoming. No such plan was ever presented to DEC. In late 2021, against the direction of DEC, LSM allegedly covered a significant portion of the yard with a layer of concrete, an action which obstructs both investigation and remediation.
“Violations of New York state’s environmental laws and regulations are serious offenses that not only threaten our natural resources but also put a heavy burden on communities near non-compliant businesses,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a statement. “Despite DEC’s ongoing outreach to take proper steps for cleanup, the owners are unresponsive and continue to operate with blatant disregard for the environment and the local community.”
The lawsuit seeks to impose financial penalties on the owners of LSM and require them to submit to a DEC-approved work plan for remediating the contamination at the site.
The owners of LSM could not be reached for comment.