Carl Monday Follow-Up: Illegal Dumping justice? - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Carl Monday Follow-Up: Illegal Dumping justice?

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Trash fills leased warehouse on Wayside Avenue in Collinwood Trash fills leased warehouse on Wayside Avenue in Collinwood
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

'The situation on Wayside is deplorable.  Rodents, garbage that is causing a severe environmental problem.'  Those words are from Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka, describing a make-shift dumpsite in a Cleveland neighborhood.

Back in May, Chief Investigator Carl Monday exposed the dumping of tens of thousands of tons of rubbish inside a building in Collinwood.  Now, it was up to Judge Pianka to decide who was responsible and who would clean it up.

Pianka ruled that building owner, Guy Orioni, was the guilty party and fined him $50,000 for violating city dumping laws.

"So where does this leave you,"  Monday asked Orioni outside the courtroom. "It leaves me in the same position as last week," he replied.  "I have to clean it up."

Orioni leased the building to Axelrod Rubbish Hauling last year, who told him they planned to recycle paper and plastic.  Chris Gattarello, who runs the company, has been cleared of illegal dumping charges.  When asked for his reaction, Gattarello had no comment.

City prosecutors failed to make a case against Axelrod and Gattarello, despite a dumpster on the site bearing the company's name.  Seems Gattarello never signed a formal lease with Orioni and pictures of the garbage introduced into evidence doesn't show anyone doing the actual dumping.

Lacking any hard evidence, Pianka says he had no choice but to let Axelrod off the hook.  'Unbelievable.'  That was Orioni's reaction to the decision.  'This is how this guy goes on and on and on.  You couldn't touch him.'

Maybe city prosecutors should have called Wayne Hiller to the stand. Hiller, a former Operations Manager for Axelrod told reporter Monday last spring that he personally dumped some of the trash.

Gattarello has hauled a few loads of the trash away since the story aired.  When asked by Monday if he plans to finish the clean-up, Gattarello answered: "'I'm trying to clean it up.  They threw my brother off the property.  What do you want me to do, beg the guy?"

But Orioni says nobody kicked him off the property and claims Gattarello did little more than move piles of trash around.

Gattarello may have dodged the law on Wayside.  But like the garbage at another site on Kirby Ave., his legal problems continue to pile up.  Tens of thousands of tons of trash remain at the old industrial site after Axelrod took over the property several years ago.  The city and EPA are investigating.

And weeks after Monday's investigation aired, our cameras were there to capture the FBI raiding Gattarello's office and home.  The FED's have been looking into Gattarello and several business associates in connection with a Louisiana consumer fraud case involving a garbage hauling contract.  A lawsuit involving the case has also been filed in Louisiana U.S. District Court.  A company called AIM Financial claims they were duped out of $2,5000,000.

Hiller, the former Axelrod operations manager, says he personally was asked to falsify invoices. He said he was asked to juggle the books for Reach Out Disposal, as the company was known then, to make it look like they were doing business with industry giant Waste Management.  Hiller says it's the same story he's been telling when questioned by the FBI. 

"I was given (Gattarello's) receivables and asked that his invoices look like they came from Waste Management.  I really didn't know anything about it.  So I did that for him.  And at a later date, I come to find out thse invoices were mailed out to AIM Financial as money owed," said Hiller. 

As a result, Hiller told Monday that the FBI told him that he now faces possible criminal charges and may be called to testify before a Federal Grand Jury.

While the legal issues are sorted out, Gattarello continues to operate under yet another name:  Ohio Rubbish Disposal.

Guy Orioni, now left with cleaning up the garbage Gattarello left behind, isn't amused. 

"It is wrong.  This guy has left a slew of victims in his wake and is moving through the city.  It's beyond my comprehension how this guy could walk away," said Orioni.

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