A Fayette County man whose illegal landfill caught fire will argue July 10 in the 12th District Court of Appeals that he should not have to repay the state of Ohio over $84,000 spent to clean up the mess.
Loren A. Cartwright was ordered by the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to pay $84,486.69 in restitution to the state last year after he plead guilty to illegal dumping, an unclassified felony. In a plea and sentence agreement with the state of Ohio, Cartwright plead guilty to the charge. Two other felony charges that were filed against him were dismissed by the state.
Counsel for Cartwright filed for appeal after the sentencing.
Cartwright’s counsel believes that the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas erred in making the restitution order because there was no specific victim named in the judgment. The state of Ohio is not a victim, according to Cartwright and his counsel, who argue Cartwright should not be ordered to pay back the $84,486.69 to the state’s fund.
The assistant attorney generals working as special prosecutors in the case are asking the appeals court to uphold the order and make Cartwright pay the $84,486.69, holding that the restitution is to be made to the state on behalf of the public, the Washington C.H. community and the neighbors of the illegal dump.
The oral arguments are set to begin July 10 promptly at 10 a.m. at the 12th District Courthouse, 1001 Reinartz Boulevard, Middletown, Ohio. The entry filed earlier this month states that arguments will be limited to 15 minutes per side unless a previous order of the court indicates otherwise.
Cartwright was additionally ordered to be supervised for one year by the Fayette County Adult Probation Department and to pay a $10,000 fine to Fayette County.
The 80-year-old Washington C.H. resident owns and operates Cartwright Salvage, Inc.
His business didn’t have a license to operate a landfill in Fayette County but the tons of household waste that he picked up and hauled for years was dumped on Bogus Road. According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the waste was illegally dumped for at least seven years going as far back as 2009.
The Fayette County Health Department had been investigating Cartwright for some time and said they told Cartwright numerous times to clean up the landfill. He refused.
Eventually, the 25-foot tall, 50-foot long landfill caught fire April 21, 2015. The county health department, which deemed it to be a health hazard to the community, applied for state funding to immediately begin the process of cleaning up the mess.
Thousands of rats living in the landfill had to be removed before the tons of household garbage could be transported to a licensed landfill. Neighbors in the vicinity of the landfill told the health department that the “humongous” rats were coming into their homes. They were provided with vouchers to purchase rat poison. The health department reported that the rats were larger in size than that of an adult’s shoe.
Once the rat colony was eradicated, a licensed garbage hauler was paid to transport the household waste to a licensed landfill.
The Fayette County Commissioners paid Cartwright $8,700 four months after he was indicted by a Fayette County grand jury. The commissioners said they had to pay Cartwright for a 14-year garbage bill.
According to the commissioners, Cartwright Salvage picked up garbage for 14 years from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Annex in Washington C.H. but Cartwright never sent a bill so the county never worried about paying a bill. The Fayette County Commissioners said last year that that was a normal practice and were happy to be paying the bill.
Commissioners said that Cartwright Salvage no longer picks up garbage for the county agency but said that some other local agencies may still employ Cartwright’s services.
Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton