Owner of Edmonds asbestos removal firm guilty of theft, forgery

BOTHELL – A Bothell man who poses as a licensed asbestos removal contractor and repeatedly endangers workers and owners will face a prison sentence.

Derrick Boss, the owner of Edmonds-based Above & Beyond Asbestos Removal, knowingly exposed clients and workers to asbestos, according to the Washington state attorney general’s office. The agency’s Environmental Protection Division handled the case and filed criminal charges earlier this year.

Boss, 44, pleaded guilty to felony charges of forgery and second-degree theft, four felony charges, two violations of the Washington Clean Air Act and two counts of contracting without a license. The case went to King County Superior Court.

Boss’s criminal conduct included operating his business without a license, forging his former partner’s signature on asbestos abatement certification documents, and exposing his workers to asbestos without the equipment protective gear, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office.

He was sentenced this month to 105 days in King County Jail and ordered to make full restitution to four people who paid him a total of $13,350 for his services.

The boss tricked customers by posing as a licensed and trained asbestos removal expert. He was neither. He denounced the owners and his workers, including his own son, according to the press release.

Only certified contractors can remove and dispose of asbestos.

Asbestos is a common material in ceilings and flooring in older buildings. Left untouched, it usually causes no problems.

When disturbed or damaged, asbestos can release dangerous fibers into the air, water and soil and harm humans and wildlife. It can cause lung damage and other health problems, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

“My legal team works to hold polluters accountable when they expose Washingtonians to dangerous and toxic substances for profit,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.

Ferguson’s office pursued the case after receiving a referral from the King County prosecutor’s office. He worked with the Department of Labor and Industries to press charges against Boss.

In one incident last year, a Burien man hired Boss’s company to remove asbestos-contaminated soil and paid $4,500 up front for the service, according to the news release.

Department of Labor and Industries inspectors found that the removal work was being done by Boss’s son who was not a licensed asbestos worker, a violation of the Quality Act. air of the state.

Investigators found Boss’s son was using a pry bar and wearing street clothes to remove the asbestos-laden floor. He was not wearing respiratory protection, the agency said.

Asbestos removal requires full-coverage disposable coveralls and respirators to protect the body from exposure.

Boss and his son walked off the job, leaving owner Burien with 10 gallons of asbestos-contaminated debris strewn across the floor.

Boss did not refund the client’s $4,500 payment. The client had to hire another company to complete the work.

It was not the first time that Boss’s company had come to the attention of labor and industry inspectors.

Above & Beyond had been inspected eight times since 2017 and had racked up security breaches and penalties, the state agency said last year.

In 2018, the agency revoked Above & Beyond Asbestos Removal certification after the company received multiple citations for mishandling asbestos at a Seattle apartment complex and at a home.

After losing his license in 2018, Boss forged his former partner’s signature and continued to operate the business, bidding and carrying out asbestos removal work, the agency said.

Boss currently owes Labor & Industries over half a million dollars in fines for 13 willful serious violations resulting from two separate inspections in June 2021.

“This contractor preyed on unsuspecting homeowners and quickly planned work to avoid detection,” said Craig Blackwood, deputy director of the agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.

“He was playing with people’s health and their bank accounts.”

Boss formed Above and Beyond Asbestos Removal in 2016 with his then girlfriend. The boss forged his business partner’s signature on the asbestos certification documents. She owned 30% of the company, but left the company in 2018.

The boss still hasn’t removed her name from the company’s licenses and registrations, despite repeatedly asking him to, and he assured her he would, according to the press release.

Instead, Boss repeatedly copied his signature on documents required to certify that an asbestos removal was legitimate – documents he could not sign himself due to his repeated violations.

Due to Boss’s ongoing multiple violations, Labor & Industries obtained an injunction from the King County Superior Court against the company, ordering it to cease all operations.

Boss failed to comply with the injunction and continued to perform asbestos removal work in violation of the order.

Janice Podsada: 425 339-3097; [email protected]; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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