LA files lawsuit against trashed Boyle Heights recycling center

BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A recycling center in Boyle Heights was costing some businesses thousands of dollars and many fear the city of Los Angeles' water supply could be in danger.

Large piles of trash have been seen in the area for years. What is supposed to be a recycling center in Boyle Heights has illegally turned into a dumping ground -- one that caught fire earlier this year and may pose a hazard to the area's water supply.

"Ecoli bacteria emerged in that water right next to two food processing facilities and only blocks from the LA River," said City Attorney Mike Feuer.

Owners of neighboring businesses said they've lost tens of thousands of dollars in business because of the millions of pounds of trash piling up.

On Thursday, the city took action.

"We filed criminal charges -- 50 counts -- against the owner and operator of this property," Feuer said. "We allege that the defendant has repeatedly flouted the law, again and again and again."

In addition to the criminal case, the city was also filing a civil suit against the company, ironically named Clean Up America, and the property owners to immediately cease all illegal operations and to reimburse the city for the money it incurred cleaning up the site and fighting that fire that took six weeks to put out.

The city was also taking the unusual step of setting bail at $125,000 for a misdemeanor case. That bail will rise to $750,000 if the company continues to operate illegally.

If convicted of all 50 criminal charges, the owner faces nearly 30 years in prison.

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