Alleva, Grubstake Auction Co. found guilty of misuse of a pesticide, endangering health and welfare
An Anchorage jury found Ronald Alleva and Grubstake Auction Company, Inc. guilty Tuesday of reckless endangerment, pollution, unauthorized pesticide distribution and misuse of a pesticide, according to a Wednesday statement from Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson's office.
On June 7, 2018, a powdered chemical was found spread on the sidewalk along Karluk Street near Bean’s Café and Brother Francis Shelter in downtown Anchorage.
Court records say Alleva, the owner of nearby Grubstake Auction, 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 and the 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 employees spread approximately 75 gallons of pool cleaner Zappit.
The attorney general’s office says 1,400 pounds of contaminated soil were removed from the site as a result.
"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," the attorney general's statement read.
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 were authorized to distribute Zappit.
The jury came to its verdict in about three hours. Anchorage District Court Judge Leslie Dickson presided over the trial.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 21.
Alleva had previously said he would rather spend time in jail than pay a fine.
"I would go to jail rather than give [them] any of our money," he said after an October 2018 court appearance.
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