ANCHORAGE, Alaska On April 30, 2019, an Anchorage jury found 67-year-old Ronald Alleva and Grubstake Auction Co., Inc., of which Alleva is the president, guilty of reckless endangerment, pollution, unauthorized pesticide distribution and misuse of a pesticide. The jury returned its verdict after less than three hours of deliberations. Anchorage District Court Judge Leslie Dickson presided over the trial.
The Anchorage Police Department (APD) along with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Crimes Unit investigated Alleva after an unknown white substance was found spread on the public right-of-way along Karluk Street on June 7, 2018.
The Hazardous Materials team from the Anchorage Fire Department responded to the scene. Investigation determined that employees of Grubstake Auction Co., Inc., at the direction of Ronald Alleva, spread Zappit 73, a registered pesticide and EPA-designated hazardous material, on the ground within a block of Bean’s Café and Brother Francis Shelter. As a result of this pollution, the block was cordoned off and an extensive cleanup was ordered, which resulted in 1,400 pounds of contaminated soil being removed from the site.
Alleva’s conduct, along with that of Grubstake Auction Co., Inc. and its employees endangered the health and welfare of individuals, putting them at risk of serious physical injury including blindness and even death had the substance been ingested. It also polluted state lands and would likely have polluted Ship Creek if it had rained. Finally, as with any pesticide, the label is the law. In this case, Zappit 73’s label clearly prohibited Alleva and Grubstake Auction Co., Inc. from using it in the manner they did.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 21, 2019.
CONTACT: Assistant Attorney General Carole Holley at 907-269-6250.