ROCKY MOUNT, Va.-Two officials of now-defunct Virginia Rubber Recycling have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in connection with an illegal tire dumping scheme. Virginia Rubber Recycling Owner Rufe Bynum III and Manager Larry Boyd each pleaded guilty July 31 to three misdemeanor counts of interference with the property rights of another, said Franklin County Commonwealth Attorney Cliff Hapgood. The men agreed to plead to reduced charges in exchange for testifying against other former company officials accused of permit violations.
The two men, along with former company officials Marcus Haley and Raymond Bishop, both of Texas, originally were charged with three felony counts each of improper operation of the business. The indictments were the result of a Virginia Highway Patrol investigation into the illegal dumping of tire products by the Rocky Mount firm, Mr. Hapgood said.
The state Department of Environmental Quality inspected the firm five times for failing to comply with the conditions of their operating permit. Violations included improper disposal and exceeding the allowable number of stored tires, he said.
The court suspended Messrs. Bynum's and Boyd's three-year jail sentences on the condition they comply with the terms of the plea agreement, which includes testifying against Messrs. Haley and Bishop, Mr. Hapgood said.
Mr. Bynum was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the owners of a Roanoke, Va., warehouse where tires were illegally stored, and he and Mr. Boyd must pay court fines of $2,500.
An unrelated fire destroyed Virginia Rubber in 1995.