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Environmental Law

: Environmental Crimes Blog

US v. John Emerson Tuma ? Trial ? Day 2 ? Afternoon Session

By Walter James

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John Tuma is being primarily represented by Jim Boren out of Baton Rouge, LA. The government is being represented by Leslie Lehnert, with the USDOJ, and Mignonne Griffing, the AUSA.

Cross examination of Wayne Mallet continued after the lunch break. Jim Boren started the afternoon cross examination by asking Mallet where he was working and whether he had told his new employer about his dumping activities at the ARKLA facility, that he had lied to the USEPA, lied to the City and lied at a show cause hearing. Mr. Mallet acknowledged that he had not disclosed that to his new employer but would if they asked. Mr. Boren then shifted to asking Mr. Mallet about his motivation to testify asking him if his wife had texted John Tuma asking for money to hire a lawyer after Mr. Mallet had been fired by CCS. John Tuma never gave Mr. Mallet any money. The testimony then covered what the government could charge Mr. Mallet with to which Mallet replied that he thought it could be in the five-to-ten year range for a sentence.

The cross examination then shifted again back to treatment process. There was discussion of the introduction of acid, ammonia and chlorine to the treatment tanks. Mr. Mallet generally acknowledged the use of the chemicals and admitted he did not know what it was actually used for in the treatment process.

Mr. Boren then asked Mr. Mallet about the discharges to the City POTW and that the discharges occurred until the City installed new monitoring equipment just outside of the facility. There was a recap of sorts of the time line involved and the capping of the outfall in August 2006 with the question posed ? how were there discharges to the Red River if the line was capped? Mr. Mallet responded that there were no trucks coming in at that time so here was no waste water to discharge. The cross then went into a discussion of various piping configurations at the facility and the flow meters. Mr. Mallet testified that he tampered with flow meters by bypassing them with pipes and hoses and merely unplugging them. All of this was done of the orders of John Tuma. Mr. Mallet did testify that the mechanical flow meters were not tampered with, rather, they were just pulled out.

Mr. Mallet then testified that he had not talked to Todd Cage (another witness) about the waste water discharges. He testified that Cody Tuma had trained Todd Cage but that Todd Cage discharged water to the Red River and the City POTW the same way he did.

Mr. Boren then confronted Mr. Mallet with a written statement prepared for a show cause hearing with the City. The written statement was in opposite to his testimony. Mr. Mallet acknowledged that he had lied stating: ?I lied alot cause I had to keep my job.?

Mr. Boren then returned to the Ken AuBuchon investigation and the written statement given by Mr. Mallet. Mr. Mallet admitted it was all a lie stating: ?That is what John Tuma told him to say.? As to a lab flood that occurred during a discharge, Mr. Mallet stated that it was not his job to investigate the cause of the lab flood it was only his job to discharge water.

Redirect was uneventful. Mr. Mallet restated that only he, Todd Cage and Cody Tuma would undertake the discharges. He also restated that the facility discharged from virtually every tank at the facility to the City POTW and the Red River. When asked what benefit he got for all of his lying previously, he stated: ?I got to keep my job.?

The government then called Jeri Dixon to the stand. Ms. Dixon worked at the facility from 2004 until January 2008. She had known John Tuma for over thirteen years and testified that he ?was like a father to me.? Ms. Dixon started as a receptionist and was then promoted to operations coordinator and began coordinating all discharges, from scheduling the sampling events to scheduling the discharges to the City. Ms. Dixon testified as to the process for the sampling and the discharges. When asked, Ms. Dixon stated that John Tuma made all decisions related to the facility. Ms. Dixon also stated that she did not have anything to do with any of the plant processes outside of the front office.

Cross examination by Jim Boren was focused primarily on some of the analysis of Tank B1 and that it varied over a certain three day period of time. When asked if the sample analysis ever exceeded permit parameters what would happen, Ms. Dixon responded that the whole batch would be re-run (put through the treatment system again). She testified that she consulted with John Tuma regarding analytical data on a daily basis. She also testified that she assisted in writing standard operating procedures with John Tuma?s help.

The final witness of the day was Chris Warren with the City of Shreveport. After eliciting his background, the government had him walk through several sampling events for when the facility submitted discharge sample analysis and for which the City did its own sampling. There were two dates in August 2006 and five dates in December 2006. There was a big discrepancy in the analytical data. His conclusion was that what was being discharged was not what had been submitted to the City for discharge. He testified that on one occasion he discovered that the discharge valve to Tank B-1 was closed and that the valve to Tank B-2 was open when the facility was supposed to be discharging only from Tank B-1.

Court adjourned at 4:45 p.m. today. Chris Warren will be back on the stand tomorrow.

More later.

As always, please feel free to contact me at walter.james@jamespllc.com

WDJiii

Full post as published by Environmental Crimes Blog on March 13, 2012 (boomark / email).

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