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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Trucker in sludge controversy drew earlier allegations of illegal dumping

November 6th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Court, Crime, environment, Politics

Rick Daysog’s reported on Monday that SER Trucking, the company that allegedly illegally dumped sludge dredged from the Hawaii Kai Marina on property along Waianae Valley Road is now facing a criminal investigation (“Police investigating sludge controversy“).

It seems the company is no stranger to charges of illegal dumping.

With a bit of checking, I came across a lawsuit in federal court against SER Trucking filed in March 2011. In this suit, Nautilus Insurance is seeking a court order absolving it from defending SER Trucking in a pair of state lawsuits stemming from the 2007 sale of two adjacent homes on Puhawai Road in Waianae. The homes were offered for sale by David and Carol Souza.

The buyers of the homes soon discovered multiple construction defects that had not been disclosed. They also allegedly discovered “illegal dumping and burial” of hazardous wastes on a lot next door by SER Trucking and its owner, Sandra Silva.

The lawsuit alleges SER Trucking paid Island Topsoil and David Souza, the former owner of the properties, to illegally dump the solid waste.

The illegally dumped waste included “waste tires, partially buried tires, concrete rubble greater than eight inches in diameter, and partly buried rebar,” the lawsuit alleged.

Nautilus issued several commercial liability policies to SER Trucking, but its lawsuit argued damages caused by the illegal dumping were not covered, or fell into specific exclusions from coverage. Court records show SER Trucking failed to respond to the lawsuit and was found to be in default.

In early November 2011, Federal Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang agreed that Nautilus was not liable for any claims stemming from the illegal dumping, and granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgement.

Copies of the preliminary findings and recommendations in the case were sent to SER Trucking, Sandra Silva, and Bill Bathe, a Waianae accountant who served as treasurer of the trucking firm.

Bathe turns out to represent quite a few Waianae businesses. He is also listed in state business registration records as treasurer and agent for Leeward Auto Wreckers, the towing company that lost the main city towing contract earlier this year after numerous instances of overcharging were reported. Here’s another article that doesn’t have a pay wall.

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  • Tracey

    One thing I don’t understand is how the SA portrayed the HI Kai community of shipping their waste to the West side on purpose. The HI Kai Assoc. hired them to dispose of it, they didn’t know that they would illegally dump it.

  • Lopaka43

    The Marina Association hired the firm that hired SER Trucking, but all three are responsible for following the conditions specified in the permit. The permit does not allow dumping anywhere other than four sites in Hawaii Kai and one offshore dumping site.

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