Friday, August 3, 2012

Baltimore Landlord Gets 12 Months Prison, 6 Months House Arrest For Improper Lead Based Paint Abatement, Failure To Disclose Hazards To Tenants

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Baltimore, Maryland):

  • U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Cephus R. Murrell, age 69, of Catonsville, Maryland, [] to a year and a day in prison, followed by six months of home detention as part of one year supervised release, for improper lead paint abatement at rental properties owned and managed by Murrell, as well as failure to disclose to tenants the presence of documented lead-based paint hazards. Murrell owns and manages approximately 175 rental housing units throughout Baltimore.
  • [M]urrell pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of violating the Toxic Substances Control Act. According to his guilty plea, on September 15, 2010, Murrell had workers conduct lead-paint abatement work at one of his apartments, located on Frederick Avenue in Baltimore, while one of the apartment tenants and his children were present on site, in violation of the lead-paint abatement regulations.

    In addition, Murrell provided MDE [Maryland Department of the Environment] with a Project Notification Form for this project in which he falsely stated that a particular supervisor would be at that location on a particular date, when in fact no supervisor was on site, also in violation of the lead-paint abatement regulations.

    Murrell admits that there were several instances in which he falsely certified that workers would be conducting lead abatement work and that a particular supervisor would be on site to supervise the work, when in fact, no supervisor was on site.

    For example, Murrell had notified MDE that he would be conducting abatement work on August 31, 2010, and that a specific individual would be supervising it. When officials from MDE visited the apartment on that date they found workers conducting abatement work, but no supervisor was on site. The alleged supervisor was, in fact, out of town on travel.

    Finally, Murrell admits that he and his company failed to disclose to tenants the presence of documented lead-based paint hazards when they rented units he owned and managed. Many of these units had a history of lead-based paint problems that had been documented by MDE.
For the U.S. Attorney press release, see Baltimore City Landlord Sentenced to Prison for Lead Paint Violations in Rental Properties He Owns and Manages (Previously Cited by the State for Numerous Lead Paint Violations and Documented Children with Elevated Lead Blood Levels Living in His Properties).

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