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 Post subject: Feds seize records in Hazleton mine project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:56 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Feds seize records in Hazleton mine project
By Dave Janoski Projects Editor)
Published: April 14, 2010

KINGSTON - A massive mine-reclamation project in Hazleton utilizing material dredged from the bottom of the Delaware River was the focus of a raid by federal agents who descended on a Kingston office building Tuesday.

About 15 federal agents spent more than two hours removing boxes of documents from the Third Avenue headquarters of Fort Mifflin Reclamation Associates Inc. and Hazleton Creek Properties LLC. The two companies are involved in a multi-million-dollar project to fill mines and landfills on a 277-acre site with soil dredged from the Delaware and develop the site with an amphitheater, restaurants and other businesses.

Fort Mifflin has been paid $38 million for transporting material dredged from the river as part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deepening project since 2006. Hazleton Creek has an agreement with the city of Hazleton to reclaim the mining site and purchase it from a city agency for $3 million over the next five years.

The investigators who removed more than 20 boxes - some of them clearly marked "Ft. Mifflin" - from the office building at 580 Third Ave. included agents from the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI. They referred all questions to an attorney from the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, who did not return repeated phone calls Tuesday.

Fort Mifflin Reclamation President William F. Rinaldi and company secretary Marvin L. Slomowitz could not be reached for comment. Slomowitz is president and treasurer of Hazleton Creek Properties, according to state Corporation Bureau records. Both men are principals in Mark Development, a commercial development company also headquartered at the Third Avenue address.

Mark Development attorney Andrew Bigda said the company would have no comment.

In addition to the raid in Kingston on Tuesday, federal agents also visited a Dunmore businessman who has served as site manager at the Hazleton reclamation site.

Barry Bowen confirmed federal agents paid him a visit, but declined to comment on where they visited him and whether they took any of his files.

The raid in Kingston began before noon Tuesday, with federal agents arriving in a fleet of cars and SUVs, many bearing license plates from Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. Some wore jackets identifying them as agents from the Defense Criminal Investigative Services, an arm of the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General. After the raid, one agent was seen leaving the building carrying a U.S. Army-issue bullet-proof vest.

Fort Mifflin Reclamation has received more than $38 million from the Army Corps of Engineers since 2006 for transporting and disposing of Delaware River dredging materials from storage areas at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia, according to a federal contracts database.

The database lists the company as an "emerging small business" that has one employee and an annual revenue of $621,000.

The initial Army contract, for $21 million, was awarded in September 2006 with Fort Mifflin Reclamation, outbidding three other companies for the work, according to the database. The company added an additional $17 million through change orders and supplemental agreements for additional dredge disposal.

Companies controlled by Slomowitz and Rinaldi have completed numerous development projects across Luzerne County, including Walgreens drug stores in Dallas Township and Wilkes-Barre, shopping centers in Edwardsville and Pittston Township and student housing in Hazleton for Lackawanna College.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, a key promoter of the reclamation/amphitheater project, recruited Slomowitz and Rinaldi to be the developers.

"Bill Rinaldi has experience in the entertainment field. He thought it was a great idea," Barletta said Tuesday.

He said he had not spoken to either man about Tuesday's raid.

"I was just as surprised as everyone else," Barletta said.

Denise Allabaugh, Kent Jackson, Borys Krawczeniuk and Michael R. Sisak, staff writers, contributed to this report.

djanoski@citizensvoice.com

[/b]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:55 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
I swear, Luzerne County is going to implode someday :!:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Location: Harrisburg, PA (or in the coal fields)
Unbelievable. First the cargo airport fiasco now this.


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 Post subject: re
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:31 pm 
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Posts: 95
Location: philly 'burbs
damn, and i thought the shitstorm with this dredging project was confined to my area. dirty jers and delaware state govs suing the army to stop it even though it"ll bring a ton a jobs in.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:21 pm 
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Location: State College, PA
whats the cargo area fiasco?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:14 am
Posts: 551
Location: Binghamton, NY
I can answer the airport question. Near Hazelton, and the Humboldt industrial park, a group of area investors I guess we'll call them, created "Gladstone Partners." The idea was to build a large, single runway facility soley for cargo flights. Airspace and everything was approved by the FAA. Gladstone failed to disclose who the cargo company was going to be that will use the facility, as the FAA was not going to fund a "built it and they may-or-may-not come" project. They stated they had a company that was going to use it, but none of the majors (FedEx, UPS) planned on using it. The project slowly faded away, leaving a popular offroad/outdoor park which they acquired thru eminent domain, abandoned and unused.

I actually sent Gladstone a resume, I wanted to get in managing the facility on the ground floor, before it was even built. I dont know the whole story if this was a ploy or if they really had intended on bulding the airport, but their website is no longer available so I'm pretty sure it's a dead issue for good.

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