When you empty your tray into the trash at your favorite fast food place, you might assume it will be tossed in the dumpster and hauled off to a local licensed landfill. But that's not always the case.
Carl Monday and his team investigated a local rubbish hauler, who's contracts include fast food & family restaurants. Monday discovered that the company, operating recently under the name Axelrod Rubbish Recycling, dumped possibly tens of thousands of tons of raw garbage inside a warehouse it leased on Wayside Avenue late last year. The garbage is still there. And so is the stench and rats who have taken residence.
Building owner Guy Oriani, who took Monday on a tour of the dump, says Axelrod owner Chris Gattarello told him they were using the building to recycle paper. Oriani says he's "devastated," asking Monday, "who the hell is going to clean this up?"
Good question. The courts have ordered Oriani and Gattarello to clean up the giant dump, and for Oriani to pay for the garbage removal. Oriani says he got one estimate from a waste hauler: $600,000. "You could put up a skyscraper" for that kind of money, says Oriani.
Monday did track down Gattarello at his office. He had nothing to say, while chasing the reporter and his photographer from the property and locking the gates.
But Wayside isn't the only dumpsite with Gattarello's fingerprints on it. At the Old Acme site in Collinwood sits piles and piles of raw garbage...maybe one hundred thousand tons or more. We're not sure who dumped it there, but Axelrod was responsible for cleaning it up....two years ago. Despite court orders, the trash remains....a half block away from a residential area.
Axelrod, by the way, is now out of business. Gattarello still operates under a different name.
Both dumpsites fall in Councilman Mike Polensek's ward. "Unbelievable," says Polensek. "I've never seen anything like it. I've seen some nasty sites in my time. I was mortified. What in the hell is this?"
Polensek is demanding an immediate clean up of both sites, as residents deal with the smell and rodents that run rampant in their neighborhood.
The veteran councilman predicts, "This is going to be an environmental disaster for the city."