Loren A. Cartwright is appealing a court-ordered $84,486.69 restitution payment, arguing that the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas erred in making the restitution judgment because there was no victim.
The 80-year-old Washington C.H. man owns and operates Cartwright Salvage, Inc. and illegally dumped tons of municipal waste for seven years on Bogus Road.
After numerous attempts by the Fayette County Health Department to resolve the illegal dumping issue with Cartwright, a Fayette County grand jury indicted him for illegal disposal of solid waste by open dumping, operating a solid waste facility without a license, and operating a solid waste transfer facility without a license. In a plea and sentence agreement with the state, Cartwright plead to the unclassified felony charge of illegal disposal of solid waste by open dumping and the other two felonies were dismissed.
As a part of his sentencing, Cartwright received one year of community control, was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to Fayette County, and ordered to pay $84,486.69 in restitution to the State of Ohio for the benefit of the Environmental Protection Remediation Fund. The $84,486.69 was money that the Fayette County Health Department had applied for and received from the state’s environmental fund to pay for the clean-up of the illegal dump on Bogus Road.
The 25-foot tall, 50-foot long pile of household garbage caught fire April 21, 2015. Neighbors in the vicinity reported humongous rats were coming into their homes and the health department provided vouchers to purchase rat poison. The health department considered the situation to be an immediate health hazard to the community and applied for state funding to initiate clean-up efforts. Before the massive pile of household garbage could be removed, the health department had to call in a professional service to remove the rats, who had essentially colonized the dump and spread throughout the area.
Cartwright never had a state license to operate a solid waste landfill, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, who were appointed as special prosecutors in the case. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office estimated the site on Bogus Road had been used as an unlicensed landfill going back as far as 2009, and even after the 2015 fire, continued to be used as an unlicensed garbage dump until February 2016.
According to argument briefs filed with the 12th District Court of Appeals, Cartwright’s attorney denies that he should be ordered to pay back the $84,486.69 to the state’s fund. The reason, according to the brief written by Cartwright’s counsel and filed Jan. 20, is that the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas erred by awarding the restitution, primarily because there was no specific victim named in the case.
The assistant attorney generals in the case responded to the appeal by filing a brief Wednesday. The prosecutors are asking that the $84,486.69 ordered in sentencing be upheld by the appeals court, holding that the restitution is be made on behalf of the public, the Washington C.H. community and the neighbors of the illegal dump.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton