Attorney General announces indictment against Parker man suspected of contributing to airborne release of asbestos

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that attorneys from the office’s Criminal Justice Section have secured an indictment from the Statewide Grand Jury against a Parker man suspected of contributing to the release of a hazardous substance by misleading state officials.

According to the indictment, Michael Merit (DOB: 8/5/1964) falsely claimed to be a certified asbestos inspector between Nov. 1, 2007 and Jan. 30, 2008 in order to obtain work in connection with the demolition of a mobile home park in Elizabeth, Colo. Once hired by the demolition company, Merit is suspected of performing the wrong tests to determine if asbestos was present in the mobile homes. Merit is then suspected of delivering the improper test results to the demolition company, which used them to apply for a demolition permit from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

According to the five-count indictment, the demolition company, the Resource Center, leveled three mobile homes, which resulted in the airborne release of asbestos. Following a tip, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment tested demolition site and determined that asbestos levels at levels high enough to pose a substantial threat to human health and the environment.

The Office of the Attorney General investigated the case and secured the indictment with the assistance of the Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force, the Air Quality Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Special Investigations.

Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General will present its case in Elbert County District Court.

To report an environmental crime in Colorado, call the Colorado Environmental Crime Task Force at 303-312-6134 or fill out the form posted on the Attorney General’s Web site.

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