July 23, 2015 Meeting Minutes

 

MINUTES
DRYCLEANER ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE TRUST FUND
COUNCIL of ILLINOIS

CHICAGO MARRIOTT NAPERVILLE
NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS

JULY 23, 2015

John Polak, chairperson, called the Drycleaner Environmental Response Trust Fund Council of Illinois meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. A quorum was present. Roll call was taken with the following members present:

John Bredenkamp
Sung Kang
Daniel Kim
Paul Kwak
Jerry Lewicki
John Polak (via telephonic conference)

Also present were:

H. Patrick Eriksen, Program Administrator’s Office
John J. McCarthy, Program Counsel
Dr. Juho So, Program Administrator’s Office
Yong Kim, Program Administrator’s office

PRELIMINARY BUSINESS

The minutes from the June 25, 2015 Council meeting were reviewed. On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Kwak, the Council approved the minutes by a vote of 6–0.

  WAIVER OF 60 DAY NOTICE PERIOD TO APPEAL CANCELLATION OF INSURNACE COVERAGE
 

Mr. Eriksen noted this appeal had been referred back to the Council by the Administrative Law Judge for reconsideration of their denial to waive the 60-day notice period to appeal the Administrator’s decision.

Mr. Eriksen reviewed background information on this drycleaning facility with the Council. Mr. Yeong Choi is the owner/operator of Diversey Cleaners, Chicago, IL and he failed to submit the required paperwork and pay the insurance premium to renew the insurance coverage by June 23, 2014, which is the policy’s renewal date.

A thirty day cancellation notice was issued and Mr. Choi was contacted via telephone on July 10, 2014 informing him his insurance policy would cancel as of July 24, 2014 and the facility would lose remedial program benefits if the Council did not receive his renewal application and premium payment by that date. The required information was not received by July 24th and the insurance coverage cancelled.  A letter was sent August 6, 2014 informing Mr. Choi his insurance had cancelled. The letter included flyers on how to reapply for insurance coverage and the appeal procedure guidelines.  Mr. Choi did not timely appeal the cancellation of insurance coverage and sent a letter on October 19, 2014 requesting the Council waive the 60 day notice period for appealing the cancellation of insurance coverage.

Mr. Eriksen referenced research he recently completed on prior insurance appeals requesting waiver of the appeal notice period. Out of a total of 5 prior insurance appeals requesting waiver of the appeal notice period, the Council granted the waiver for 3 appeals and denied for 2 appeals.  For the 3 waivers granted, the appeal request was filed late by 31 days or less. For the 2 waivers denied, the appeal request was filed late by approximately 1 year. Mr. Eriksen noted Mr. Choi was less than 30 days late in filing his appeal.

Mr. Richard Kim (ESM Compliance Program) translated for Mr. Choi. Mr. Choi said he was a long term participant of the Fund and his drycleaning business has a heavy focus on wholesale operations. Due to employee issues, he was not paying attention to paperwork issues at the time his insurance policy came up for renewal.  He misunderstood the August 6, 2014 letter that included the flyer on the appeal procedures and thought he had 60 days to pay his insurance premium. Mr. Choi stated he understood the consequences of his actions and commented if the Council granted his waiver request and reinstated his insurance coverage without a lapse, he would not let the coverage lapse in the future.

After general discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council voted 6-0 to waive the 60 day notice period to appeal cancellation of the insurance coverage.

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council voted 6-0 to reinstate Mr. Choi’s insurance coverage without a lapse in coverage and reinstate his remedial program benefits.
  OPERATIONAL ISSUES
 

A.

NDI Compliance Program Issues

 

Mr. Eriksen reported the Council voted at their June 25, 2015 Council meeting to place discussion of the NDI Compliance Program on this meeting’s agenda. Specifically two general discussion issues were identified. The first was why NDI failed to comply with the Council’s compliance program site inspection requirements and the second was NDI’s request to transfer their compliance program to a new third party.

Mr. Eriksen reviewed in detail the specific issues/questions listed in his Council memorandum.

Ms. Heidi Park of NDI, addressed the Council beginning with the issues associated with NDI’s failure to comply with the Council’s site inspection requirements. She stated NDI was unable to timely submit the inspection reports because their laptop had a virus and all the site inspection photos were corrupted. Mr. Polak asked about backup files for the laptop. Ms. Park replied they did not regularly backup the laptop files.

The question was asked of Ms. Park why did she not make copies of the handwritten inspection reports, take the camera memory card to a store with a photo shop (i.e. Walgreens, etc.) and have the photos printed, and then send the site inspection information to the Fund? Ms. Park did not answer the question.

Ms. Park stated she stopped working for NDI in September of 2014 and was no longer involved with the compliance program. A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the following:

  1. Who is the current owner of NDI?
  2. Who is currently operating NDI’s compliance program?
  3. Is there a new entity or is it NDI doing business using a different program name?
  4. Who is the owner of the new entity NDI wishes to transfer their compliance program to/
  5. Who will be operating the compliance program for the new entity?
  6. Staff/site inspector qualifications.

Ms. Park noted Mr. Chang Nam, current chairman of NDI was in attendance at today’s Council meeting as well as Brandon Stirmell, who Ms. Park indicated was to assume her compliance program responsibilities. Mr. Nam did not respond to questions asked by the Council regarding NDI’s issues. Mr. Stirmell stated he is a college student who is returning to college in August and would be assuming Ms. Park’s responsibilities with the compliance program.

After additional dialog between the Council, Mr. Eriksen and Ms. Park, Mr. Bredenkamp made a motion to defer taking action on NDI’s compliance program issues until NDI provides information as to legal structure, ownership, management, etc. for both NDI and the new entity NDI is requesting to transfer their compliance program to. The motion was seconded by Mr. Lewicki and passed by a vote of 5-0-1, with Mr. Kang abstaining.

Mr. Polak asked Ms. Park how soon this information could be provided to the Council. She replied in a few days. Mr. Polak said discussion of this agenda item would continue at the August 27, 2015 Council meeting.  Ms. Park noted Mr. Stirmell would be back at college and may be unable to attend the August 27th Council meeting.
  APPROVAL OF PROGRAM BILLINGS
 

Mr. Eriksen noted that there were three bills before the Council for their review and approval. They were as follows:

 

1. Williams & Company Consulting, Inc                               $63,310.00
Standard flat fee billing for June 2015, licensing, underwriting, claims processing and site inspections.

  2. John J McCarthy                                                                      $1,040.00
Professional Legal services for the period of June 14, 2015 through June 30, 2015.
  3. Hinshaw & Culbertson                                                          $1,301.00
Professional Legal Services for the month of June 2015 regarding Diversey Cleaner administrative law judge hearing.
 

On a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Bredenkamp, the Council approved the bills as presented by a vote of 6–0.

  CLAIM PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $75,000
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there were three claim payment requests for Council review and approval.

  A. TJ Cleaners, Bartlett, IL; Claim #50738, Site #0001743
   

Dr. So noted the Administrator is requesting budget approval of $46,550 for continued remediation at the site. Recent testing indicated additional KMn04 would be needed to reduce the remaining contamination.

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council approved the $46,550 in additional remediation costs by a vote of 6-0.
  B. Wilmette Tailors and Cleaners, Wilmette, IL; Claim #50128, Site #0001622
   

Dr. So noted the Administrator is requesting budget approval of $35,250 for continued remediation at the site. Recent testing indicated additional Regenox would need to be injected to reduce the remaining contamination. To date, approximately 80% of the soil contamination has been reduced to a level requiring no further remediaiton.

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council approved the $35,250 in additional remediation costs by a vote of 6-0.
 

C.

First Street Cleaners, Dekalb, IL; Claim #50608, Site #0002583
   

Dr. So noted the Administrator is requesting budget approval of $27,500 for implementing a building control technology (BCT), obtaining a groundwater ordinance and costs to complete remaining reporting to obtain an NFR.  

After discussion by the Council, on a motion by Mr. Lewicki and a second by Mr. Kang, the Council approved the $27,500 in additional remediation costs by a vote of 6-0.
  OTHER ISSUES AS PRESENTED
 

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, 2015 and is the annual strategic planning meeting. The meeting is tenatively scheduled to begin at 9:30 am.

On July 22nd, Mr. Eriksen and Dr. So conducted a presentation on best management practices for drycleaning facilities for inspectors from Illinois EPA, Cook County and the City of Chicago.

Mr. Eriksen reported the Council is working without an authorized appropriation request for FY16. This means the Council cannot expend any monies for cleanup, fund administration, council travel expenses, etc. until the legislature has approved an appropriation and it is signed by the governor.
  PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
 

Mr. Polak asked if there were any comments from the public. There were none.

  CLOSED SESSION
 

Mr. Eriksen noted there was one issue for discussion in Closed Session. On a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewecki, the Council voted 6-0 to go into closed session to discuss matters of potential litigiation at 11:25 am.

The Council reconvened in open session at 11:33 am. On a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council voted 6-0 to settle all outstanding license and license late fees with Dennis Porter for $2,000.

There being no further business, on a motion by Mr. Bredenkamp and a second by Mr. Lewicki, the Council meeting adjourned at 11:34 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

H Patrick Eriksen

Program Administrator
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