MANCHESTER — Two Brady Sullivan companies have agreed to pay a penalty of $90,461 to settle lead paint violations at the Lofts at Mill West, federal regulators announced Tuesday.
“That’s more than a slap on the wrist,” said Manchester attorney Francis Murphy, who is representing more than 40 tenants suing over lead concerns at 195 McGregor St. “It adds another nail in the coffin in terms of the liability.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last summer had announced it was seeking $139,171 in penalties against the Brady Sullivan companies.
“The agreement ensures that Brady Sullivan Millworks II LLC and Brady Sullivan Millworks IV LLC ... will comply with federal rules ensuring lead-safe work practices and proper disclosure of information pertaining to lead paint, thus protecting the health of building occupants,” the EPA said in a statement Tuesday.
The EPA said it finalized the agreement with the two companies for failing to follow lead-safe work practices and failing to provide proper lead paint disclosure to tenants. “Brady Sullivan continues to be very sorry that its sandblasting subcontractor created the lead dust event that is the subject of the EPA settlement,” Brady Sullivan attorney Marc Pinard said in an email.
“We are relieved that there were no adverse heath effects to any individuals resulting from the incident. The company believed that the lead paint disclosures it provided to its tenants at the time were legally compliant, and all steps are being taken to cooperate with the EPA to ensure that all necessary requirements are fulfilled in the future,” Pinard said. “Brady Sullivan values its tenant relationships and will continue to do everything possible to ensure safe and healthy homes.”
Last summer, regulators also had issued a complaint against Environmental Compliance Specialists Inc. of Kingston, seeking a penalty of $152,848, alleging that during renovation activities at the McGregor Street building in 2015, the company among other things failed to properly contain the work area.
Regional EPA spokesman Emily Bender said Tuesday that the “EPA’s action against ECSI is ongoing. ECSI filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in late 2016.”
The EPA’s administrative complaint against the Brady Sullivan companies alleged that Brady Sullivan Millworks II failed to provide lead paint disclosure information to tenants in 14 apartment at the Lofts at Mill West.
Millworks II owns and manages 98 apartments on the third and fourth floors. Millworks IV owns and manages a portion that was being developed in residential units on the first and second floors, the EPA said last summer.
The Kingston company was hired by Millworks IV as a subcontractor to perform demolition and renovation work on the first and second floors.
Murphy said 40-plus tenants from 33 units have joined together to sue Brady Sullivan over lead issues.
Their trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 27 in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester, he said.
An apartment with lead is “worth a whole lot less” than a lead-free residence, he said. He noted lead is “a well-known toxic substance” that is especially harmful to young children.