Demolition contractor and landfill owner Steve Rauch took steps to hide material he ordered to be dumped illegally at several properties, and when discussing it with an employee said “it was not a big deal,” according to a bill of particulars filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
“I told you this was not a good idea,” Rauch’s operations manager Jennifer Copeland told him after West Carrollton excavated a city-owned property and found 130 illegally dumped mattresses and box springs, some from Miamisburg’s old Wyndham Hotel that Rauch demolished for Kettering Health Network, new records obtained by the Dayton Daily News allege.
The records provide more details about the case prosecutors built against Rauch.
Rauch also reportedly instructed his drivers to take specific routes “to avoid inspection by the Dept. of Transportation” and that it was known as “the Steve Rauch Way.”
Rauch, Copeland and Rauch’s SRI and Bearcreek Farms businesses face five felony counts of open dumping and burning and operating a solid waste facility without a license.
One of Rauch’s criminal attorneys, Ralph Kohnen, declined comment about the bill of particulars, saying it was not in his client’s best interest. Kohnen is his firm’s chair of corporate compliance and white collar criminal defense.
Rauch’s employees said Rauch ordered solid wastes in his SRI construction and demolition debris (CCD) landfill on Soldiers Home-West Carrollton Road in Dayton “be buried or moved to other locations to avoid discovery by the health inspector,” according to the document written by Ohio Assistant Attorney General Matthew Jalandoni.
“Employees stated that (Rauch) and SRI were going to dump 10-15 roll-offs of automotive glass and other solid wastes at Bearcreek Farms,” Jalandoni wrote, “because (Rauch) knew there was going to be health department inspection and did not want any more violations involving solid wastes found dumped at the SRI CCD landfill.”
Rauch is a prominent local businessman, philanthropist and multi-million-dollar donor to local charitable causes.
Glass from Fuyao Glass America along with furniture, garden hoses, a scrap tire, motorcycle and other trash were improperly dumped in Rauch’s landfill, according to county health department inspections from 2016.
The bill of particulars — which was requested by Rauch’s counsel — also alleges employees said the glass was dumped there so Rauch “did not have to pay for proper disposal of the solid waste at a licensed solid waste facility.
“Multiple employees also stated that (Rauch) was aware of all operations within his company and that nothing happens without his knowledge.”
The document also alleges that investigators observed and photographed carpet, wood pallets, garbage bags, cardboard, plastic waste, beer cans, a microwave, a dishwasher, scrap tires, pipes, signs, wires and food waste at the SRI CDD landfill.
The bill said after SRI employees allegedly dumped mattresses and box springs in empty lagoons, Rauch later talked to Copeland, the companies’ operations manager, to discuss hauling mattresses and box springs from the old Wyndham Hotel to the old Appvion site on Hydraulic Road.
Kettering Health Network (KHN) had contracted with Rauch to demolish the building.
“Steve Rauch and his companies have done, and continue to do, work for Kettering Health Network. We are aware of the allegations in the indictment and are monitoring the matter. We will have no further comment while the litigation is pending,” said Elizabeth Long, spokeswoman for KHN.
Rauch “was aware that only clean hard fill and not solid waste could be dumped” there, Jalandoni wrote. Rauch was one of several contractors allowed to dump clean material there to increase the height of the land.
When West Carrollton city workers excavated the site between Feb. 1 and May 19, 2016, and found the beds, records show “Copeland was overheard telling (Rauch), ‘I told you this was not a good idea.’
“(Rauch) replied that ‘it was not a big deal’ and they would ‘figure it out.’ ”
Kevin Dye, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Dayton office, declined comment but said the the agency’s Southern District of Ohio Financial and Electronic Crimes Task Force handled the case.
The Secret Service was the only federal agency involved in the Rauch investigation. Like other federal investigative agencies, the Secret Service has Title III (intercepted communications) authority.
The maximum punishments for convictions of each count Rauch is indicted on are fines of $10,000 to $25,000 and/or two to four years in prison.
A representative for Fuyao declined comment.
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