Wed September 11, 2013
Tonawanda Coke sentencing delayed again
There is another delay in the sentencing of Tonawanda Coke. Earlier this year a federal jury found Tonawanda Coke and its owner guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. But as WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, the September 30 sentencing has been postponed.
"I really don't know what the reason is. I'm not sure," said Town of Tnawanda supervisor Anthony Caruana, when asked if he knew about the second delay in sentencing.
Tonawanda Coke is facing up to $220 million in fines. Owner Mark Kamholz faces up to 75 years in prison at sentencing.
U.S. Judge William Skretny first postponed a July 15 sentencing, moving it to September 30. But in recent weeks, a defense attorney requested a delay because of a scheduling conflict.
Tonawanda resident Jackie James Creedon, who has led the fight against the company, said it has been postponed indefinitely.
"On October 22 at 1 o'clock there is a meeting, a status meeting, and we are hoping to get more answers at that meeting," said James Creedon.
James Creedon says he is getting frustrated and is calling on the public to attend the status conference.
"The community and I want some resolution ASAP and this meeting on October 22 is open to the public. I intend to be there," said Creedon.
There are no guarantees the paid fines would stay in this community. But the Clean Air Coalition has been leading an aggressive effort to persuade the judge to let residents affected by Tonawanda Coke have a voice in how the money is spent.
Supervisor Caruana said citizens were encouraged to tell their story to the judge.
"All the way from helping each individual, that are effected, all the way up to doing some community in our area and economic development in our area. So we are hoping the judge will see that money stays in the town," said Caruana.
For years, the company's smokestacks spewed out high levels of benzene and other toxins into the air.
According to court documents, the government was vehemently opposed to this second delay.