Construction Company with Multiple OSHA Violations Files Chapter 7
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Construction Company with Multiple OSHA Violations Files Chapter 7

August 27, 2012


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A New Hampshire construction company that was recently fined for improper disposal of toxic asbestos has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to a report from the Concord Monitor.

Sources say that Summer and Winter Construction LLC, a company based in Concord, New Hampshire, is facing potentially crippling fines from both state and federal legislators, and has very few assets to meet these penalties.

In June, a federal appeals court ruled that the company owed more than $100,000 to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as nearly $18,000 to state regulators.

In addition to hefty fines, the company may owe as much as $400,000 to the Internal Revenue Service in unpaid taxes, according to sources. The company, however, only has assets worth $50,000, so it knew it would be unable to pay all its debts without heading to bankruptcy court.

According to the company’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, Summer and Winter is also facing a loss of revenue due to the “tough economy.” Unfortunately, “the cash flow isn’t there to pay the debts.”

The attorney also observed that Summer and Winter’s plight reflected the financial pains experienced by other construction companies during the recession, which pulled the rug out from under the construction industry.

Of course, while the recession certainly hurt Summer and Winter’s business, the company does share a healthy portion of the blame for its financial struggles due to its safety violations. The fines levied against the company were due to the discovery of improperly disposed asbestos in 2005 and 2006.

The asbestos had been removed from homes in Concord that were being remodeled by the construction company. The toxic material was allegedly taken to a nearby landfill without notifying the owner of the facility, which is a serious violation of environmental and labor laws, according to sources.

And sources suggest that the regulating agencies issued relatively small fines to Summer and Winter because they knew it was close to insolvent already, and they didn’t want to completely destroy the business.

Despite these concerns, however, the business remains in peril, as its bankruptcy filing lists a number of powerful creditors, including the state Department of Environmental Services, the IRS, and OSHA.

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