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Precious metals company to pay $330,000 as punishment for Rocky River fish kill

From Cleveland.com:

By James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer

AKRON, Ohio -- The precious metals company that was the source of a cyanide spill that killed more than 30,000 fish in the Rocky River last year has agreed to pay more than $330,000 in community service payments and restitution to the Cleveland Metroparks and Ohio Department of Natural Resources, according to the terms of a sentencing agreement approved this afternoon in federal court.

U. S. District Judge John Adams endorsed a deal struck previously between lawyers for the Kennedy Mint of Strongsville and federal prosecutors after he was assured the money would be applied directly to the Metroparks waterways that were most damaged by the toxic cyanide.

Under terms of the plea deal, the Kennedy Mint will pay $300,000 to the Cleveland Metroparks, and $30,893 in restitution to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That money will be used to restock the river with 30,000 steelhead trout.

Adams sentenced the company's owner, Teresina Montorsi, 75, of Grafton, to one-year's probation and a $5,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson said the $300,000 payment by the company is considered a community service applied to the damaged entity, according to state statutes.

"The Metroparks were directly impacted by the discharge of cyanide," Beeson said. "The Metroparks are a great steward of these natural resources, and they'll be able to put this money to good use."

The deadly cyanide spill was discovered on April 22, 2012 –- Earth Day -- and eventually traced to the Kennedy Mint, where investigators found an empty 55-gallon drum with a hole punched in the lid.

Federal prosecutors believe Renato Montorsi, Teresina's husband, was responsible for dumping the barrel of cyanide into a storm sewer that led to the Rocky River, causing the massive fish kill. But they dropped the charges against the 79-year-old man after psychiatric tests determined he suffered from dementia and lacked the ability to understand the charges against him or to assist lawyers in his defense. He did not attend the hearing.

Teresina Montorsi pleaded guilty in May to obstruction of justice, and to federal Clean Water Act violations on behalf of Kennedy Mint. She is in the process of winding down business operations and selling the company, Beeson said.

Richard Blake, the company’s lawyer, said Teresina Montorsi was blameless for the fish kill.


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