OLD COPLEY HOSPITAL - Frequently asked questions
On Thursday, July 27, 2017, the City of Aurora issued a Notice of Intent to Sue under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act against Raghuveer P. Nayak, Anita R. Nayak and the companies they control, relating to the presence of asbestos at the Old Copley Hospital. The Notice states that the City will file suit in federal court in ninety days unless the Nayaks immediately secure the facility and mitigate the danger by removing the asbestos.
The Notice provides that, since they assumed ownership of the facility in February 2007, the Nayaks have allowed the buildings on the site to deteriorate significantly. The asbestos in the Hospital buildings pose a risk to emergency responders and the community at large. The Notice is addressed to the Nayaks because they exercise authority and control over the buildings, which makes them liable under federal environmental laws.
OLD COPLEY HOSPITAL - FAQs
What is the history of Old Copley Hospital?
Answer: The buildings were constructed from 1888 through the 1970’s during the peak period of usage of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) as building materials. In 1995, the new Rush-Copley Medical Center was constructed and the Old Copley Hospital closed. On Feb. 20, 2007, the property was conveyed to Raghuveer P. and Anita R. Nayak, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company.
Where is the Old Copley Hospital site located?
Answer: The Old Copley Hospital site is located between South Lincoln Avenue, Weston Avenue, South 4th Street and Seminary Avenue in Aurora, Illinois.
What are conditions like at the Old Copley Hospital site?
Answer: The NOITS includes photographs and videos of the Old Copley Hospital site, including a panoramic video of the exterior of the Hospital buildings showing broken windows throughout (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzmLoxptSbo). According to a report prepared for the Nayaks, insulation and materials containing asbestos (ACM) are present throughout the Hospital at a concentration of 60% asbestos. The Hospital is in such a state of decay that it is at risk of collapsing.
Who currently owns the Old Copley Hospital?
Answer: On Feb. 20, 2007, the property was conveyed to Raghuveer P. and Anita R. Nayak, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, which remains the owner.
Who is responsible for current conditions at the Old Copley Hospital?
Answer: In addition to various limited liability companies controlled by the Nayaks, the NOITS alleges the Nayaks are personally liable under the RCRA and Superfund statutes. The NOITS is addressed to the Nayaks because they exercise authority and control over the Hospital buildings, which makes them liable under the RCRA and Superfund statutes. Based on documents filed in a federal criminal action, Raghuveer Nayak is believed to have a net worth exceeding $27 million.
Why should children and others stay away from the Old Copley Hospital site?
Answer: Asbestos is a hazardous and toxic substance. Children exposed to asbestos inside the Old Copley Hospital are at risk. Asbestos can adhere to clothing which can expose others to its dangers.
What is asbestos containing material or ACM?
Answer: Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is a building material having an asbestos concentration greater than 1%. The pipe insulation at the Old Copley Hospital, having an asbestos concentration of 60%, is an example of ACM.
What is friable asbestos?
Answer: Friable asbestos is a material that easily crumbles when dry. Friable asbestos is dangerous because it can easily become airborne. The pipe insulation at the Old Copley Hospital, present throughout the site, is an example of friable asbestos.
Is Asbestos hazardous?
Answer: The United States Congress has enacted legislation stating that asbestos is a hazardous and toxic material. The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates asbestos as a hazardous and toxic material.
Who do I call if I observe trespassers, fires, vandals or other suspicious activity at the Old Copley Hospital site?
Answer: Non-emergency maintenance code violations at the Old Copley Hospital site should continue to be reported to the City of Aurora Property Standards Division. For instructions on doing so, please refer to the City’s website at https://www.aurora-il.org/Faq.aspx?QID=278. Criminal activity (such as trespassers) and emergency conditions (such as a fire) should be reported immediately by calling 911.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE - FAQs
What is a Notice of Intent to Sue (“NOITS”) under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”)?
Answer: The Notice of Intent to Sue is a requirement under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) to inform the responsible polluter(s) that action, in this case, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the City of Aurora, is in process.
What is the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or RCRA?
Answer: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a federal environmental statute regulating the disposal of solid waste. Section 7002 of RCRA authorizes citizens to file suit in federal court against a person who has contributed to a condition that may endanger human health or the environment. The citizen suit provision will be found in the United States Code at 42 U.S.C. § 6972. Federal courts have construed the “endangerment” provision in RCRA broadly to include a threat of future harm. The RCRA statute authorizes a federal court to issue an order (called an “injunction”) requiring responsible parties to investigate and cleanup the dangerous conditions.
What is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (or “Superfund”) statute?
Answer: The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act is commonly known as the “Superfund” statute. The RCRA statute authorizes a federal court to order a responsible party to investigate and cleanup a contaminated site. The Superfund statute authorizes a federal court to order the responsible party to pay for the cost of cleaning up a contaminated site. The “cost recovery” provision in the Superfund statute will be found in the United States Code at 42 U.S.C. § 9607.
Why did the City of Aurora issue the Notice of Intent to Sue?
Answer: The citizen suit provision of RCRA requires that 90-day notice be provided to the parties responsible for the contaminated site and its clean up, as well as, notifying certain government agencies of this action. The notice (NOITS) must be provided before a lawsuit is filed with the federal court.
Who is the NOITS addressed to?
Answer: The City of Aurora served the NOITS with respect to the Old Copley Hospital site on the following parties:
Anita R. Nayak
Raghuveer P. Nayak
Raghuveer P. and Anita R. Nayak, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company
Raghuveer P. and Anita R. Nayak, LLC, Series 21, a Series Limited Liability Company
Nayak Family, LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company
Nayak Property Management, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company
Heartland Bank and Trust Company, as Trustee under Trust Number 4063
The City of Aurora also served a copy of the NOITS on:
Scott Pruitt, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency
Robert A. Kaplan, Acting Regional Administrator, USEPA Region 5
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, United States Department of Justice
Alec Messina, Director, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
What does the NOITS allege?
Answer: The NOITS alleges asbestos leaking out of buildings at the Old Copley Hospital site endangers human health and the environment because (1) asbestos is escaping the Hospital, (2) teenagers, emergency responders and others are exposed to asbestos when they enter the Hospital, and (3) the Hospital is in such a state of decay that it has ceased to be a building and has become an asbestos waste disposal site. The NOITS alleges the Nayaks created these conditions and are liable under the RCRA and Superfund statutes.
What is the next step after issuing the NOITS?
Answer: Ninety-days after service of the NOITS the City will file a lawsuit in federal court. The City will vigorously prosecute this case. The City will also seek recovery of its legal fees and costs under the RCRA statute. The City will also seek recovery of past costs (such as providing site security) under the Superfund statute.
How do I obtain a copy of the NOITS?
Answer: A copy of the NOITS can be obtained by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the City of Aurora. For instructions on how to submit a FOIA request, please refer to the City’s website at https://www.aurora-il.org/1222/Freedom-of-Information-Act