Tom Waydelis has been looking forward to the summer, a great time to enjoy his two favorite modes of transportation – his boat and his motorcycle. But, this year, the Greece, NY resident may not be seeing either because they’re inside a warehouse that’s part of a federal investigation concerning illegal asbestos removal.
According to a story aired on WHAM-TV, Waydelis decided last October that he needed more room at his home, so he chose to store his boat and motorcycle at an old warehouse in nearby Rochester, New York. He was assured that his property would be safe there. However, the warehouse became the focus of a federal investigation in December, and Anastasios Kolokouris, the son of one of the building’s owners, was promptly charged with illegal asbestos abatement at the site. Apparently, the huge quantity of asbestos that was inside the building was removed by unlicensed, inexperienced amateurs, who most likely suffered asbestos exposure during the process.
Shortly thereafter, the local branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sealed up the building for public safety purposes. Waydelis hasn’t seen his property since. In addition, when he contacted authorities about his desire to retrieve his boat and motorcycle, Waydelis and his daughter – who had accompanied him to the warehouse on occasion – were added to the list of “victims” that may have been exposed to asbestos, because they were inside the building in October when the illegal asbestos abatement was taking place. Airborne asbestos can be inhaled and cause the development of mesothelioma cancer.
Waydelis continued to press local authorities about his desire to retrieve his property.
“I’m sorry, we can’t do it it’s not our responsibility,” they told him. “EPA says it’s a hazardous waste site (and) if I entered it to try to get my stuff out I could be arrested and I don’t want that to happen.”
More disturbing is the fact that Waydelis recently saw the loading dock wide open and the caution tape removed, which means his property is in jeopardy and could potentially be stolen or damaged by individuals trespassing at the site. But, as long as he can’t get into the building in a legal manner, he can’t determine what’s been going on inside.
“I understand the asbestos concern and everything but sometimes they have to look at the situation and I don’t think that they’re looking at this situation,” Waydelis said. “I should be out on my boat or riding my motorcycle and I can’t because of this.”
Local police tell Waydelis their hands are tied as well and pointed out that it’s now the responsibility of the owner to complete the abatement properly and reopen the building when all asbestos materials are removed. They’re hoping that a call to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rochester will yield some results for Waydelis, who hopes he can salvage some of his summer and enjoy some time on the water and open road.