TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—A Grand Traverse County, Mich., man may face jail time and fines if he fails to clean up a tire dump leftover from his former tire recycling business, a county prosecutor said. Steve Hubert, owner of Carl's Retreading, has violated the terms of the deferred sentence he received in 1998 after pleading guilty to violating the state's scrap tire laws, Grand Traverse County prosecutor Dennis LaBelle said.
Mr. Hubert, of Williamsburg, Mich., could receive 90 days in jail and a $500 fine on each of the three counts to which he pleaded guilty in 1998, Mr. LaBelle said.
``I'm not sure what we're going to ask the judge,'' Mr. LaBelle said.
A sentencing recommendation will depend in part on how much Mr. Hubert cleans up the property before the hearing date, he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hubert denies he has violated the terms of his one-year deferred sentence.
``It's over with as far as I'm concerned,'' Mr. Hubert said. No one has contacted him about a court appearance, he said.
``I think it is all B.S., to tell you the truth,'' Mr. Hubert said.
Asked if the site complied with state law, Mr. Hubert replied: ``I suspect if you look at something hard enough you can find something wrong.''
The charges stem from a 1996 fire at the business that burned for several weeks before firefighters extinguished the blaze.
The four-acre site, situated 10 miles south of Traverse City, contains an estimated 100,000 to 400,000 tires. Some of the tires were stacked too high and were not spaced far enough apart for firefighters to use their vehicles, Mr. LaBelle said.
The prosecutor faults state law when it comes to regulating the scrap tire business.
Many portions of the scrap tire law statutes are ``not well thought out,'' Mr. LaBelle said.
One example was a law that requires tire stacks to be separated by 15 to 20 feet to allow firefighting equipment room to maneuver during an emergency.
``Who is going to drive a $200,000 fire truck between burning piles of tires'' stacked too close, according to Mr. LaBelle.
``The real problem is Michigan has never addressed the environmental issues dealing with the disposal of scrap tires,'' he said.
Mr. Hubert maintained that state environmental regulators have taken control of the tire dump.
``They've called in the bond,'' he said. Both the company and Mr. Hubert have filed bankruptcy, he said.
``I think they are just harassing me,'' Mr. Hubert said.