Businessman charged with pouring toxic chemicals in homeless hangout
The man accused of spreading a toxic pool cleaner along part of Karluk Street where homeless people camp has, on Friday, been charged with three Class A misdemeanors from the June incident.
Ron Alleva faces charges of reckless endangerment, pollution of land/air/water and unauthorized pesticide distribution, according to charging documents.
Court records say Alleva, the owner of nearby Grubstake Auction Co, admitted to Anchorage police that he told his employees to sprinkle chlorine bleach powder on the ground between Third and Fourth Avenues.
The area is often occupied with homeless individuals who receive services from Bean’s Café and Brother Francis Shelter.
Grubstake Auction is located along the same block and Alleva has long expressed concern about a problem he says the homeless have created in the area, including trespassing and other crimes. He was also upset over large amounts of garbage, including syringes, used condoms and fecal matter on and around his property.
On June 6, Grubstake Auction Co. employees spread approximately 75 gallons of pool cleaner Zappit.
According to charging documents, Alleva claimed that he had spoken with the Municipality of Anchorage about cleaning up the area and that he was given permission to sprinkle the powder.
Muni officials denied the claim and a review of the Department of Environmental Conservation records show that neither Alleva nor Grubstake Auction Co., were authorized to distribute Zappit.
The state says the Environmental Protection Agency has designated Zappit hazardous substance. The dry granules are a form of chlorine concentrate at least 70 percent chlorine.
According to court documents, typical household chlorine cleaners typically contain between 5 percent and 6 percent chlorine.
The documents also highlighted the warnings that come with using Zappit: Danger; highly corrosive; causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns; may be fatal if swallowed. It is a violation of federal law to use his product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.
Anchorage Police Department, Anchorage Fire Department and the Hazardous Materials Unit responded to the area. AFD treated an individual with potential exposure to the hazardous substance, who had bleach stains on their jacket. The individual was evaluated to ensure he did not sustain any harm from the Zappit.
“When improperly mixed with water Zappit off-gasses a hazardous vapor that could cause severe injury. Due to the toxic nature of Zappit, the Hazardous Materials United initiated cleanup immediately to prevent any further spreading of the product and prior to rainfall to prevent the product off-gassing and from running off into the story trains,” court documents said.
The state says that 1,403 pounds of contaminated material was removed and fit into five drums.
Bean’s Café was built in 1985. The lot occupied by Grubstake Auction Co was purchases by Alleva in 1993.
Earlier this summer, the Operators of Bean’s Café and the Brother Francis Shelter claimed in court that Alleva’s action regarding homeless people in the area constitute assault but local judges disagreed.
Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi denied a temporary restraining order last week sought by Catholic Social Services and Bean’s against Grubstake Auction Co. owner Ron Alleva.
KTVA reached out to Alleva for comment about the charges filed against him but our requests have not been returned.
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