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Chief of Chemical Company Fined $25,000 Over River Dumping

October 19, 1988

DENVER (AP) _ The president of a chemical company has been sentenced to five years’ probation and fined $25,000 for federal convictions involving the illegal storage and dumping of chemicals into the South Platte River.

Protex Industries President Donald Wilson also was sentenced Tuesday to 500 hours of community service by U.S. District Judge Jim R. Carrigan.

Carrigan fined Protex $7.5 million in March, which was described as the largest penalty ever levied in the nation for environmental crimes. But he suspended all but $440,000 of the fine on condition that the company pay $950,000 in restitution to three workers whose health was damaged after they were exposed to pesticides and solvents while working at the plant.

Wilson pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor charges under an agreement reached with prosecutors Sept. 15. He faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

″The past two years have been the hardest years of my life,″ Wilson said at his sentencing. ″I’ve seen the labors of a lifetime in building a family business destroyed overnight.″

Wilson said he didn’t know about the environmental violations and acted immediately to correct them.

But prosecutor Ken Fimberg said, ″He knew the dangerous conditions existed.″

Prosecutors accused Wilson of hiding his assets after the company was searched by federal agents on March 10, 1986.

Wilson pleaded guilty to being an accessory to giving a false statement, two counts of illegal discharge of hazardous pollutants at the plant and two counts of failing to report those discharges.

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