The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has charged the owner of Jetco Motors, which burned down 17 months ago, with eight felonies related to the transportation and disposal of hazardous debris.
Frank Ghayaz, also known as Faranarz Tabatabaighahyaz, was arrested Aug. 9 after a hired hauling company was observed dumping fire-damaged toxic waste at the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill in Richmond.
One day after his arrest, Ghayaz was released on $40,000 bail.
The District Attorney filed the eight felony counts on Nov. 16. Ghayaz is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 18.
Ghayaz did not return phone calls to the Planet on Friday, but his attorney, William Cole of the Oakland law offices Krech and Cole, said Ghayaz will plead not guilty on all eight counts.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Michael O’Connor said Ghayaz, if convicted, could face up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine for each count.
Jetco Transmission, located at 2120 Fifth St., was destroyed by at five-alarm fire in May 2000. Shortly after the fire, the city’s Toxic Waste Division determined the fire-damaged debris, which included car batteries and engine parts, contained hazardous materials.
Ghayaz also owns the Jetco Motors Garage at 2120 Fifth St.
According to Toxics Management Supervisor Nabil Al-Hadithy, Ghayaz was told the debris would have to be disposed of according to state environmental law, which Al-Hadithy said is “very expensive.”
“Hazardous waste is regulated from ‘cradle to grave,’” he said. “Every aspect of waste is documented, regulated and accounted for so it doesn’t end up causing damage to the environment.”
Despite a quarantine on the burned-out transmission shop, inspectors from the Consumer and Environmental Protection Division of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office witnessed a hauling company, allegedly hired by Ghayaz, transport the hazardous debris to the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill, according to O’Connor.
O’Connor said there was no health risk to the neighbors of the transmission shop because the debris had been properly contained and enclosed. But the landfill, which is located next to the San Francisco Bay, is not licensed to handle hazardous materials.
“Disposing of the materials at the landfill meant that the toxic metals would eventually work their way into the Bay where it would (present) a hazard to aquatic life,” O’Connor said.