MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Shelby County Health Department told Memphis City Schools to pay up after creating a health hazard in south Memphis.
MCS created a toxic mess when it started tearing down an abandoned school before getting the proper permits to remove asbestos. Memphis City Schools and three contractors are now facing almost $100,000 in fines.
ABC 24 Senior Investigator Jeni Diprizio discovered the illegal demolition underway last fall and alerted officials.
In September, ABC 24 cameras caught contractors at the old Florida Street school stripping the building of metal, taking bricks and anything they could. The problem was Memphis City Schools didn't have the proper permits or permission for the demolition work.
When part of the building came down, asbestos was exposed. The health department shut the operation down because of the contamination.
According to Bob Rogers with the Shelby County Health Department, "If a stop work order hadn't been issued and if they had continued taking more walls down, there could've been significant exposure to the community."
The health department issued $95,000 in fines: $5,000 in fines for two contractors, $40,000 to Memphis City Schools, and $45,000 to Cotry Maclin, the guy with the bulldozer
Thanks to taxpayers, Memphis City Schools has the money to pay its fine. But, Shelby County may never collect the $45,000 from Maclin. In 2009 he was fined $2,500 for a similar incident, which he still hasn't paid.
Maclin just got out of jail Wednesday. He was arrested earlier this month, accused of stealing more steel pipe from a property in south Memphis. The property owner says $100,000 worth of scrap was stolen.
We tried to talk to Maclin, but he didn't answer his door.
The asbestos was finally cleaned up and the building taken down by a reputable demolition company.
No one from Memphis City Schools would comment.