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Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

EPA, FBI investigation of business a mystery

City shuts off water, sewer service to MagnaGro building but keeps silent on reason for search warrant

September 20, 2007

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East Lawrence business subject of federal investigation

A spokesman with the environmental protection agency confirmed today that EPA criminal investigators and agents with the FBI executed a federal search warrant at a building operated by 'MagnaGro' at 600 East 23rd St. Enlarge video

Federal investigators descended upon an eastern Lawrence business Wednesday as part of a mysterious probe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kris Lancaster, a spokesman for the EPA, said investigators with the agency's criminal investigative division executed a federal search warrant on a building at 600 E. 23rd St. that is operated by MagnaGro International Inc. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation also were on scene to assist the EPA, Lancaster said.

Lancaster said the warrant was sealed, and he declined to comment on what the agency was seeking at the building.

City Manager David Corliss released a statement later in the day confirming the city had shut off water and sewer service to the building. But Corliss said he did not believe any environmental issues at the site were causing problems for the city's utility system.

"We have no reason to believe the safety of the city's water and wastewater services to Lawrence residents have been jeopardized by the alleged misuse at the site," Corliss said.

Attempts to reach officials at MagnaGro were unsuccessful Wednesday. Late Wednesday afternoon, employees were not at the 600 E. 23rd St. location or at another 23rd Street location listed in the phone book as an office for the company.

Several Web sites listed the company as an agriculture fertilizer blending company.

Lancaster declined to give any other details on the investigation and declined to say what type of crimes the EPA's criminal investigative division generally investigates. But an EPA Web site said the unit can investigate various crimes, including violations of the Clean Water or Clean Air acts, illegal disposal of hazardous waste, tampering with drinking water supply and illegally dumping pollutants into bodies of water.

Comments

rumrunner 6 years, 7 months ago

Well the disgruntled employee must be the person above that is telling everything he knows..obviously he has been in place or something. Sure knows alot about what has been going on over there.

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Pilgrim 6 years, 7 months ago

spywell (Anonymous) says:

Just gessing, I wonder if they had a disgruntled ex-employee who, well you know::.snitched them out.


Or just decided to make up some sh** to cause some trouble. Gee, disgruntled former employees always have the best of intentions, don't they?

You guys are a riot today!

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Pilgrim 6 years, 7 months ago

ASBESTOS (Anonymous) says:

IF EPA is this far this is something bad done here, AND they have evidence.


My, we are a trusting soul, aren't we? "It's the EPA! They've never screwed up or been wrong about anything. We must assume the worst! Everybody hide!"

ROFL!!!!!!!!!!

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residentinlawrence 6 years, 7 months ago

I know some people that have worked for this guy. This man will blame anyone else to get out of things. Doesn't think laws are for him.

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rumrunner 6 years, 7 months ago

They have a truck sitting over there at that location with RG Sawyer, Ltd on the side of it. So he must have a trucking company too.

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lawrenceman 6 years, 7 months ago

MagnaGro Intl. is run by a man named Ray(mond) G. Sawyer. His wife Debbie is the owner of the business by name only(She is not involved with the day to day operations of the plant). Mr. Sawyer runs an agricultural fertilizer plant next to Sound Pro beneath the bridge across the street from the Haskel University campus. I do not know what the EPA was looking for in their warrant but I am aware of some of the waste disposal practices they use. They have a waste containment pit located underneath a liquid mixing tank where they temporarily store waste fluids. To dispose of this waste, it was their previous policy ( of at least three years ago) to dispose of this waste by either using a sump pump to force it down the the toilet in the the plants restroom, or out the old railroad access side garage dooor into the grass off the plant's property to the east of the building, or directly into the sewer located near the same location.

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spywell 6 years, 7 months ago

Just gessing, I wonder if they had a disgruntled ex-employee who, well you know.......snitched them out.

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rumrunner 6 years, 7 months ago

Make the plants grow...but what about the citizens....If they have been in business since 1990 like the above information showed..than this man knows what he is doing wrong...and if the FBI and EPA are keeping things hush hush than he is in deep trouble...

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ASBESTOS 6 years, 7 months ago

Here is a Product Catalog:

http://www.magnagro.com/PDF/Product%20Guide.pdf

IF EPA is this far this is something bad done here, AND they have evidence.

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rumrunner 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree why would the FBI and EPA come in there if they didn't do anything wrong. You know they have probably been watching them for along time. If they have dangerous chemicals over there and dumping them places they are not suppose to dump than they deserve to get it trouble. There is a Debbie Sawyer married to a Ray Sawyer here in Lawrence. And he runs some kind of business.

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logrithmic 6 years, 7 months ago

Only,

Well, it says attempts to reach officials were unsuccessful. What are the names of the officials they tried to reach? Let's start with that!

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angelofmine 6 years, 7 months ago

My ex worked for this company for a few months. I remember he drove a truck and trailer to Texas twice a week or so....some sort of new 'improved' fertilizer of sorts.

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OnlyTheOne 6 years, 7 months ago

Attempts to reach officials at MagnaGro were unsuccessful Wednesday. Late Wednesday afternoon, employees were not at the 600 E. 23rd St. location or at another 23rd Street location listed in the phone book as an office for the company.

And what else - other than continue to track them down do you suggest they do, logrithmic?

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compmd 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey, my favorite tinfoil hat wearer is back! What, was there a sale on them at Weaver's or something?

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was_freashpowder 6 years, 7 months ago

I Cold promise you that they are also involved with the yellow house store. OR the people Messing with the Yellow house are getting tired so now they are picking on another Lawrence Buisness. You know at this rate there will be no small buisnesses left in Lawrence....

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LogicMan 6 years, 7 months ago

Normal "building sewers" and "building drains" do not have ways to shut them off.

The water supply, however, is typically valved at several places. The "curb stop" is often the one used to turn off the water when you don't pay your bill, for example.

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tolawdjk 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, for one, Smitty, it could be that whatever action they are being investigated for did not involve the use of the water or wastewater system and it was only shut down as a preventative to keep them from disposing of evidence.

It could also be that if they were using the wastewater system to dispose of material, that the city's system was handling and treating what was being fed into it. Just because someone is dumping something doesn't mean that the wastewater plant can't cope with it, but it doesn't magically make that process legal.

One thing I can say, if EPA crim. is involved, it is most likely that they have very solid evidence. Most things there are handled from the civil side usually. It pretty much takes knowing and willful violation of law for the crims to show up.

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smitty 6 years, 7 months ago

There is a bit of confusion here. How can the FBI, EPA to shut the operation down (due to presumed enviormental issues), the city shuts off the water, but...."We have no reason to believe the safety of the city's water and wastewater services to Lawrence residents have been jeopardized by the alleged misuse at the site," Corliss said.

I feel so informed now.

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otto 6 years, 7 months ago

You can turn off a water meter with a wrench

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otto 6 years, 7 months ago

Agno - please explain how you turn off a sewer pipe with a wrench.

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acg 6 years, 7 months ago

I found a few mentions of them online and they're supposedly involved in "non-conventional soil additives" and "organic vegetable production".

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Baille 6 years, 7 months ago

MAGNAGRO INTERNATIONAL, INC. 1724509 Current Mailing Address: PO BOX 261, LAWRENCE, KS 66044

Business Entity Type: DOM: FOR PROFIT CORPORATION Current Status: CORPORATION IS ACTIVE AND IN GOOD STANDING Date of Formation in Kansas: 02/07/1990 State of Organization: KS

Resident Agent and Registered Office Resident Agent: DEBORAH L. SAWYER Registered Office: 911 N 1ST , LAWRENCE, KS 66044

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Agnostick 6 years, 7 months ago

otto (Anonymous) says:

"I'd like to see the process the city used to shut of the sewer service."


They probably sent somebody out with a wrench...

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org http://www.americanplan.org

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Norma Jeane Baker 6 years, 7 months ago

MagnaGro does NOT do lawn care. I know the owner.

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otto 6 years, 7 months ago

"City Manager David Corliss released a statement later in the day confirming the city had shut off water and sewer service to the building."

I'd like to see the process the city used to shut of the sewer service.

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Nick Yoho 6 years, 7 months ago

"Several Web sites listed the company as an agriculture fertilizer blending company."

read much?

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logrithmic 6 years, 7 months ago

Hmmm. Wonder what MagnaGro does or who owns it? I guess the Journal World did not consider this relevant.

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