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Sherman Man Pleads Guilty to Asbestos Violation Charges

A Sherman man will plead guilty to charges linked to alleged improper cleanup and storage of asbestos at the long-abandoned food processing facility of the Pillsbury Mills in Springfield.

Joseph Chernis IV has agreed to admit guilty to the federal asbestos violation charges. He will be sentenced on August 11, according to the notice filed recently in the United States District Court in Springfield.

It was in 2016 May that Chernis was indicted for federal clean-air act violations after he allegedly allowed untrained workers to cleanup as well as store asbestos. The alleged violations took place between 2014 October and 2015 August, according to court documents. Asbestos was stored in plastic garbage bags, cardboard boxes, and open containers. Another suit filed by the Illinois State alleges that Chernis IV lied regarding the work.

According to court records, Chernis IV is a partner in P Mills, the site owner. Other partners include Chernis’ father Joseph Chernis and Kevin A Crain, a Sherman resident. Joseph Chernis and Crain haven’t been included in the case. Chernis IV and his father also operate the Midwest Demolition Company of Springfield.

Salvage and demolition works at the former food plant, located on 1525 East Phillips Street, was halted in 2015 as the Illinois State filed a lawsuit requesting to force a legal and proper cleanup at the site, in addition to a number of security improvements. There will be a status hearing on July 10.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started cleaning up the 18-acre site at issue in February. The plant has remained empty since its closure in 2001. The work could take up to 6 months and cost approximately $1.8 million.

Joseph Chernis IV did not comment on the news. Chernis could receive penalties of up to $250,000, in addition to prison sentence up to 5 years followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma Claims

Asbestos is a highly regulated material in the United States because exposure to the mineral could cause fatal diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. However, the victims have the legal right to seek compensation from the parties responsible for their asbestos exposure. They can file mesothelioma claims with the assistance of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. To ensure victory in the legal battle, the victims must hire a dedicated mesothelioma lawyer who has a proven track record of success in asbestos litigation.

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