By Eric Heisig
View the original article at cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A federal judge sentenced a Cleveland demolition company owner to 33 months in prison for helping to demolish the National Acme Building in the city’s East Glenville neighborhood, releasing asbestos into the environment near an elementary school.
William Jackson Jr., 47, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of the Clean Air Act, including failing to remove asbestos prior to demolition and failing to dispose of asbestos waste. Prosecutors said he was one of several people involved in the demolition of the building on East 131st Street near Iowa-Maple Elementary School in 2012.
He also lied on forms submitted to the city and wrote the building had no asbestos, authorities said.
While Jackson admitted in court to the charges, he has continued to fight the case.
He tried to withdraw his plea, which Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent refused to allow him to do. He also maintained that he only participated in demolition on two occasions in August 2012, though witnesses interviewed by federal investigators said they saw him at the site conducting demolition on other days.
Up to the last minute, Jackson tried to explain away his conduct. When Nugent brought up the fact that Jackson wrote on city forms that there was no asbestos, Jackson said that was based on a survey provided to him.