About Veterans Field
The ICBE works tirelessly both at public meetings and behind the scenes to hold everyone involved accountable for contaminating and remediating Veterans Field. Led by Edgewater council candidates Valory Bardinas and Sheldon Gelman, and former councilwoman Mary Hogan, we fight hard on behalf of our residents, especially the young ones.
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Veterans' Field, the story so far. Long but really worth reading!
In May of 2011, as preparation for a refurbishing of Veterans' Field, soil tests were conducted toxins (particularly PCBs) were found. The park was closed in September of that year, and Fred Daibes' firm, Waterside Construction, was hired to clean up the site.
Bryan Christiansen, the former mayor of Edgewater, was hired by Mr. Daibes as a consultant to oversee the restoration and "clean up" of Veteran's Field. Mr. Christiansen was at Veteran's Field daily, supervising and monitoring the progress being done.
On September 19, 2011, TERMS Environmental Services was hired by the borough as a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP). According to the NJ.gov website, "A licensed site remediation professional's highest priority is the protection of public health and safety and the environment."
In 2013, TERMS repeatedly rejected Waterside's fill material as unfit. Apparently frustrated by rejection, Mr. Daibes took unauthorized and illegal action: I quote from an email from Mr. Corriston to Mary Siller at the NJDEP: "On September 6, 2012 (later corrected to 2013), Waterside Construction advised Jason Menzella, the Site Supervisor for the Borough Engineer, Neglia Associates, that it would not be performing any work on Saturday, September 7 … In the afternoon of Saturday, September 7, 2013, Mr. Menzella, while driving by the site, observed that Waterside Construction … was working at the Veteran's Park. Mr. Menzella observed...employees purposely covering material which had not been previously on the site and to his knowledge had not been approved…"
In September of 2013, new contaminated fill was discovered. Crushed fill from the old, poisoned Alcoa side had been used. Mr. Daibes at first denied this, but then, in December 2013, admitted to 50 truckloads of dirty fill. Ha ha, as we shall see below.
In March of 2014 the town hired a special attorney, Timothy Corriston, to deal with the situation. In May, 2014, TERMS was fired, because, according to an Edgewater View article July 25, 2014, the company did not meet the town's performance standards. "They were hired to protect the interests of the borough and during their job performance, the field became contaminated," Borough Attorney Phil Boggia was quoted as saying. This is not only shooting the messenger, it's firing the whistleblower. For details, read TERMS' fascinating tort claim.
Throughout this miserable saga, Councilmen Michael Henwood and Luis Vidal have consistently argued against the borough aggressively pursuing litigation against Waterside Construction and Project Consultant Bryan Christiansen. Instead they encouraged deflecting blame from individuals responsible and led the attack on TERMS.
On May 19, 2014, the borough hired First Environment, replacing TERMS as LSRP. In a recent letter to town administrator, Greg Franz, First Environment notes that 29,400 cubic yards of material need to be removed in order to clean up the field to the Borough's promised residential standards. At 18 cubic yards per dump truck load, this would require 1500 truck loads..
At the special council meeting held on July 23rd regarding Veterans' Field, the councilmen of Edgewater did not address questions raised about how the field became more contaminated, and would not give an estimate of cost or time to complete the park. The meeting mostly emphasized that TERMS was now out of the picture, and that First Environment was going to do a better job. Councilman Henwood dominated most of the discussion at the meeting, and when the mayor James Delaney interjected, Henwood chastised him and questioned his leadership.(It is worth noting that TERMS' initial test on the Little League field found a high concentration of contaminants there. First Environment stated that they would not test the area, so we can assume that 29,400 cubic yards is a pretty low estimate.)
When the council went into closed session on February 17, 2014 to discuss hiring a legal firm, they apparently had something else on their minds. Immediately after returning to open session, Michael Henwood introduced a surprise resolution, seconded by Luis Vidal, to allow Fred Daibes to remove his COAH obligation of 3 affordable units from the St. Moritz building since Mr. Daibes was in the process of selling the St. Mortiz . The public was not allowed to comment It would have increased Mr. Daibes' profit Margin by $1.5 million. The council approved the resolution with councilmen Henwood, Vidal, and Bartolameo voting in favor.
Unfortunately for Fred, COAH intervened and refused to allow him to remove the units. We wonder why Michael Henwood and Luis Vidal used their positions as councilmen to increase Mr. Daibes' profit margin. Are they rewarding Mr. Daibes for dumping his contaminated fill in Veterans' Park?
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