Three companies suspended from Detroit’s demolition program
Published by John on
The Detroit Office of Inspector General is probing whether the owner of a Warren-based abatement company, BBEK Environmental, has ownership ties to air quality monitoring companies Green Way Environmental Services and HC Consulting.
The concerns center on whether air monitoring was being performed by a truly independent third party as required by local and state regulations. The allegations are also under review by the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Nonprofit Housing Corporation (MHA), which provides oversight of the city’s demolition program.
MHA spokesperson Katie Bach said while the agency “does not directly oversee the abatement process except for reviewing waste manifest and waste shipment records, we will look further into this issue.”
The impact of the suspensions on the program’s production isn’t immediately clear but for nearly five years, BBEK Environmental has been contracted to conduct most required abatement work for the Detroit Land Bank Authority and City of Detroit.
The Land Bank’s general counsel Tim Devine said in a written statement that the agency didn’t immediately know how many homes slated for demolition will be impacted or what sort of delay could ensue.
“It is up to the individual demolition contractors to identify new abatement subcontractors, therefore we can’t broadly estimate potential delays that may result,” Devine said. “We will continue to work with contractors to make sure the process continues to move forward and that we meet all HHF deadlines,” referring to the federal Hardest Hit Fund.
However, BBEK Environmental’s attorney Rebecca Camargo estimated the suspension will immediately impact at least 558 houses in need of abatement work prior to demolition — totaling more than $2.7 million in work.
“Each of those demolition contractors, six different companies, are going to have to reach out and get new quotes for asbestos removal, which means the Land Bank is going to have hundreds of change orders,” Camargo said. “They (BBEK) do the majority of the work because they’re the company that has the capacity to do it. It’s going to slow down the whole timeline.”
With the company suspended, it’s unclear which companies will pick up the voluminous workload to meet an aggressive goal outlined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to eliminate every remaining blighted home by 2024.
About 18,000 remain.