Archive for Monday, February 14, 2011

MagnaGro owner ordered to spend nine months in prison for violating probation

February 14, 2011


Raymond Sawyer

Raymond Sawyer

A federal judge has ordered a Lawrence man who owns MagnaGro International to spend nine months in prison for violating his probation originally granted in 2009.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson made the ruling late Friday after federal prosecutors spent the day in court arguing Raymond Sawyer, 59, had not complied with his probation terms based on his conduct, including current charges he faces in Lawrence Municipal Court.

Federal prosecutors have said Sawyer was accused of assaulting the city’s code enforcement manager, Brian Jimenez, last October during a confrontation and in December, grabbing and pushing Rowena Hillebert, the sister of an employee who died in an industrial accident at his business in April 2010.

Sawyer faces municipal court charges in two pending cases. He’s accused of occupying his business after city inspectors condemned it and for running with clenched fists toward Jimenez during a confrontation. He was not charged for the confrontation with Hillebert, who cleans MagnaGro’s business office, 811 E. 23rd St.

Sawyer was on probation after he pleaded guilty in federal court in 2009 to discharging waste from his fertilizer operation at 600 E. 22nd St. into the city’s sewer system.

Defense attorney Chris Joseph said Robinson decided to have Sawyer serve prison time as punishment instead of a probation.

“His personality is such that the judge did not believe that he could succeed on probation,” Joseph said. “I don’t know that I agree with that, but that’s the judge’s decision. She has the ability to make that.”

But Joseph said once Sawyer finishes his prison term he won’t be required to have any post-release supervision in the federal case.

The Lawrence-based agricultural fertilizer company has faced ire for years from federal and city officials.

Federal prosecutors had argued in court documents that Sawyer had not only violated his probation by facing the municipal court charges but that he had exhibited a pattern of “intimidation” of employees and others.

In April 2010, two employees, Roy Hillebert, 51, and Brandon Price, 25, died after they were overcome by fumes from a material being mixed at the 22nd Street site. City officials later declared the site “unfit for human occupancy” and boarded the doors.

Last October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a civil complaint and compliance order against MagnaGro for failing to tell the agency what hazardous wastes were on the site.


hurray2 7 years, 4 months ago

Hope he learns something from this experience. But I doubt he will. He should have gotten a lot more time than he did.

emict17 7 years, 4 months ago

He should never be allowed to operate a business involving hazmat again. EPA needed to come down harder on this guy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

"The Lawrence-based agricultural fertilizer company has faced ire for years from federal and city officials."

What an odd statement. He broke various local, state and federal laws, and it's the job of various enforcement agencies to enforce those laws. What evidence is there that they did their jobs with "ire" rather than detached professionalism?

WHY 7 years, 4 months ago

Excellent point. This is not personal, just business. LJW should change or verify their claim.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 4 months ago

Federal charges, so it'll be a federal prison. Leavenworth, min. security?

irunsowhat 7 years, 4 months ago

After talking with him before he got locked up, he has blantly said that he's taking his business elsewhere and will operate the same way, among many other things... Seems like a classy fella!

hurray2 7 years, 4 months ago

Sounds exactly like something he would say because he is SO ARROGANT!!! Let's see how arrogant he is when the boys at Leavenworth get a hold of him. LMAO

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 4 months ago

This guy has been walking around town making fun of how he was pulling the wool over his parole officer's eyes. Ignoring authority and authority figures is part of his DNA.

This will happen to him again.

tomatogrower 7 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately death will happen to one or more of his workers again too. Personally I can't believe they can't make a case for some sort of man slaughter charges.

somedude20 7 years, 4 months ago

Looks like Kenny Rodgers and Dan Haggerty had a love child and named him Raymond

onceinawhile 7 years, 4 months ago

just FYI: a mugshot is not enticing "front-page" art.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.