BOTHELL — A Bothell man who posed as a licensed asbestos removal contractor and repeatedly put workers and homeowners in harm’s way will do jail time.
Derrick Boss, the owner of Edmonds-based company Above & Beyond Asbestos Removal, knowingly exposed customers 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 gross misdemeanors, two violations of the Washington Clean Air Act and two counts of contracting without a license. The case was prosecuted in 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 proper protective equipment, according to an Attorney General’s Office news release.
He was sentenced this month to 105 days in King County Jail and has been ordered to pay full restitution to four people who paid him a total of $13,350 for services.
Boss duped clients by posing as a licensed and trained asbestos removal expert. He was neither. He exposed homeowners and his workers, including his own son, the news release said.
Only certified contractors may remove and dispose of asbestos.
Asbestos is a common material in ceiling and flooring materials in older buildings. Left untouched, it does not generally cause any 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 is working to hold polluters accountable when they expose Washingtonians to dangerous and toxic substances in pursuit of profit,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement.
Ferguson’s office prosecuted the case after receiving a referral from the King County Prosecutor’s Office. It worked with the Department of Labor & Industries to bring the case against Boss.
In one incident last year, a Burien man hired Boss’ company to remove an asbestos-contaminated floor and paid $4,500 in advance for the service, the news release said.
Inspectors with the Department of Labor and Industries found that the removal work was being done by Boss’s son who wasn’t a certified asbestos worker, which is a violation of the state Clean Air Act.
Investigators discovered Boss’s son using a pry bar and wearing street clothes to remove the asbestos-laden flooring. 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 the Burien homeowner with 10 gallons of asbestos-contaminated debris strewn across the floor.
Boss did not refund the customer’s $4,500 payment. The customer had to hire another company to complete the work.
It wasn’t the first time Boss’s company had come to the attention of Labor & Industries inspectors.
Above & Beyond had been inspected eight times since 2017 and had racked up safety violations and penalties, the state agency said last year.
In 2018, the agency de-certified Above & Beyond Asbestos Removal after the company received multiple citations for mishandling asbestos at a Seattle apartment complex and a house.
After losing his license in 2018, Boss forged his former partner’s signature and continued operating the business, bidding on and performing asbestos removal work, the agency said.
Boss currently owes Labor & Industries more than a half-million dollars in fines for 13 willful serious violations stemming from two separate inspections in June 2021.
“This contractor preyed upon unsuspecting homeowners, and quickly scheduled jobs to avoid detection,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director of the agency’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“He was playing with peoples’ health and their bank accounts.”
Boss formed Above and Beyond Asbestos Removal in 2016 with his then-girlfriend. Boss forged the signature of his business partner on asbestos certification documents. She owned 30 percent of the company, but left the business in 2018.
Boss still has not taken her name off the company licenses and records, even though she has repeatedly asked him to, and he assured her he would, the news release said.
Instead, Boss repeatedly copied her signature onto documents required to certify that an asbestos removal was legitimate — documents he couldn’t sign himself because of his repeat violations.
Due to Boss’s multiple, ongoing violations, Labor & Industries won an injunction in King County Superior Court against the company, which ordered it to cease all operations.
Boss did not comply with the injunction and continued to perform asbestos removal work in violation of the order.
Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org;
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