Demolition contractor sues city after home with asbestos is torn down

David MacDonald is a demolition contractor and formerly worked for Den-Man Contractors, which is based in Warren. The city of Detroit has blamed him for demolishing a home with signs of asbestos. This building was torn down under a federal program. Detroit has removed more than 11,000 buildings.

Whether the money was spent well or not s a big debate. It has clouded the mayor Duggan’s two terms in office. There is even a federal criminal investigation going on. This investigation has found two people who are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of rigging bids and bribes to get homes in the city of Detroit demolished. David MacDonald sued the city about this scandal filled program. In September, 14444 Flanders was demolished. The home is on Detroit’s east side. It was included on a demolition list that was distributed by MacDonald’s colleague despite the fact that the home had shown indications of asbestos. Asbestos poses a large health and safety risk to the public. It is a natural mineral that during the twentieth century was prized for its hairlike fibers. In the ‘60s, asbestos was found and made commonly known to cause dangerous cancers if made airborne and inhaled. Since then more than 60 countries have banned asbestos. Yet it is still in many houses all over the world, causing a threat to the health of the public. On September 13th, Den-Man demolished the house. MacDonald says he was not involved in the decision. A week after, MacDonald began to work for another company, Smalley Construction and continued to work for Den-Man in a limited role, according to the lawsuit. It took more than a month for Den-Man to inform the city building authority about 14444 Flanders. According to the lawsuit, the president of Den-Man, David Holman, said in an email that the city “blamed plaintiff for scheduling and demolishing the house…” Days after that email the city banned MacDonald’s new employer from doing asbestos abatement or demolition even though Smalley had nothing to do with the demolition of 14444 Flanders. Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia wrote in an email that for the city government, the health and safety of Detroit residents is a top priority. He also wrote that the city will not apologize for their obedience to that priority in contracting as well as business decisions. In early November, the director of the Health Department, Joneigh Khaldun, ordered that no demolition should be made within the city limits by any firm, LLC, or company that employs Mr. MacDonald in a job related to demolition. Days afterward MacDonald stopped working with Smalley. MacDonald’s lawyer wrote in the lawsuit that as a result of all this MacDonald has been “deprived of his employment” as well as business opportunities. And this without “procedural or substantive due process”. Garcia wrote in an email that for multiple reasons the city feels its act was reasonable. It is easy to see why MacDonald is not happy with the city of Detroit.

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