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Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Liberty Square demolition delayed: Ypsilanti Township considers legal action over flawed $30K asbestos survey

By Tom Perkins

The long-awaited demolition of Liberty Square could be delayed until the end of June after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality rejected an asbestos abatement analysis of the property.

The report from the analysis - performed by Detroit-based TEG Environmental Services - was found to be missing pages and it appeared not all units of the 151-unit townhome complex had been inspected.

At a recent special meeting, the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees approved Township Attorney Doug Winters taking legal action to recoup the costs of the approximately $30,000 job that was performed about a year ago.

At the same special meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved moving forward with a new DEQ-approved contractor to complete a new survey. Winters said township staff is working with the new company to quickly complete the work.


Liberty Square's demolition has been delayed by around a month.

Tom Perkins | For

Officials had hoped to start the demolition this week, but were notified of the issues by the DEQ last week. Ypsilanti Township was recently awarded a $657,000 grant to tear down the 17-building complex. The DEQ must sign off on the project before the township is awarded the money, and the township already has contractors ready to begin the work.

“We have to see what legal recourse there is and make sure we aren’t left holding the bag, so to speak,” Winters said. “But we can’t let this stand in the way of us going forward.”

The environmental study and asbestos survey are required by state and federal law, and samples must be taken from each of the 151 units in Liberty Square. The complex is on a 26-acre site on Grove Road just west of Rawsonville Road.

Winters said 14,000-square-feet of tile with asbestos in it was removed and taken to an appropriate landfill, though DEQ still had some concerns that the entire complex wasn't inspected.

One of TEG's owners lives in Ypsilanti Township and Winters said there were “no red flags” that indicated any issues with the company. They were included in a list of Michigan State Housing Development Authority approved companies.

TEG representatives did not return requests for comment.

“It blindsided us. Obviously we were proceeding on good faith that people are doing what they say they’re doing,” Winters said. “Rather than delay the project, we decided to go ahead and have a second survey done.”

The Liberty Square property has been vacant for several years and continues to attract vandals and scrap thieves who cost the township thousands of dollars monthly in expenses related to re-sealing the buildings.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Who from the government signed off on and accepted the report? What consequences do they face? Customer acceptance and sign-off on a contract is very important. If I sign off and accept work from a contractor, and that work turns out to not meet the terms of the contract, I will get my rear end kicked by my management. But, I don't work in the public sector, so the rules are evidently different.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

That is an excellent point. Unfortunately there have been documented instances of where "contractors" or not the right people have been responsible for issuing permits, etc. I hope this is not the case here.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Has anyone researched this company? All of his company addresses are either UPS stations or vacant suites in buildings. How many people have sued this guy for non-payment or non-performance? He puts people in danger and should be dealt with accordingly. I hope the state comes down hard on this character. He is a bad apple in the environmental business.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

I have an idea. Just treat the whole thing as though it has asbestos and deal with it appropriately instead of trying to go through all that red tape.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

"An asbestos-containing building that is to be torn down may have to be sealed (see third picture on right), and to have its asbestos safely removed before ordinary demolition can be performed. The asbestos removal may take longer and cost more than the actual demolition."


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

That's brilliant. It's not like we would be spending real money on unnecessary clean-up and mitigation efforts. Oh, yeah. It would cost more to clean-up asbestos. Nevermind. Do you work for government?

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

"It blindsided us. Obviously we were proceeding on good faith that people are doing what they say they're doing," Winters said. "Rather than delay the project, we decided to go ahead and have a second survey done." Another 30K? Who did the second 'award' go to? Another Yspilanti Township resident?

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

From a previoius article: "One of TEG's owners is an Ypsilanti Township resident." In light of this new fiasco from Ypsilanti Township's Keystone Kops governing body, can we have the name of that person now? As they say in noir films, I smell a rat.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

When was this photo taken? I have not been by this site in some time but this photo makes the privacy fence look pretty good and the shed looks pretty good also. Just wondering if any to the materials could be reused or sold from the site.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

Tom, I know you're probably very busy, but I would REALLY appreciate it if you could keep following up and following up on this to find out if: 1) We get money back from the place that did the incompetent report 2) The city or township is currently or will in the future do any business with TEG Environmental Services It seems like these cities are extremely study-happy, and we've had some real expensive lemons delivered to us. I have yet to see any real REPERCUSSIONS for the providers of lemons. Just money.

Tom Perkins

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

@RUKiddingME I'll be reporting on the situation's outcome. It should be noted that an asbestos survey is required by state and federal law and the township must complete one to receive the $657,000 grant.

Hugh Giariola

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:34 a.m.

OK, has anyone from the township contacted TEG to see if they can work it out? Is it simply a case of finding the "missing pages" of the report, or do additional properties need to be inspected? I am suggesting a work-through instead of plunking down another $30K for a survey from a new company.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 2 a.m.

Our watch meeting is next Tuesday. Brenda is always there. I will ask her what the hold up is. A month is like saying hell thawed. Otherwise, can't wait to see that place fall down and gone.