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Morrell Managers Indicted On Environmental Charges

February 22, 1996

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) _ A current and former employee at John Morrell & Co. pleaded innocent Wednesday to illegally dumping slaughterhouse waste in a river. The company has already pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Wayne Kumm, plant engineer at the Sioux Falls meatpacking plant, and former company vice president Timothy Sinskey are accused of conspiring to cover up the illegal dumping in the Big Sioux River over eight years.

Kumm, 45, is charged with 17 violations of the Clean Water Act; Sinskey, of Caledonia, Miss., faces 30 counts. Until November 1992, Sinskey headed Morrell’s Sioux Falls division.

The men face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy counts and two to three years on the other charges. Each count carries a fine of up to $250,000.

Officials have said that the waste may have damaged aquatic life in the river but was no threat to humans. Sioux Falls gets a portion of its drinking water from the river.

Morrell, the largest meatpacker in South Dakota, pleaded guilty earlier this month to six counts of dumping slaughterhouse waste into the river.

If the company’s plea agreement is approved by a judge, the company will have to pay a $2 million criminal fine and another $1 million to establish a local environmental cleanup fund. The sentencing is scheduled for May 13.

Two other Morrell officials pleaded guilty in 1992 to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act by falsifying discharge reports and rigging tests.

In the latest case, prosecutors said Kumm and Sinskey authorized rigged sampling methods and results to conceal violations. Prosecutors said the men sent memos to senior company officials revealing deliberate, ongoing pollution and told them to destroy the memos after they were read.

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