CLEVELAND - Witnesses have taken the stand during the mitigation of the sentencing of Ben Lupo, former owner of a Youngstown-based wastewater company who's pleaded guilty to federal Clean Water Act violations.
Lupo, 63, of Poland, is charged in the dumping of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater into a storm sewer. He faces up to three years in prison, a year of supervised release and fines of as much as $250,000.
Two witnesses spoke in his defense this morning: physician Thomas Detesco and forensic chemist Stephen Emsbo-Mattingly. The former outlined Lupos ailing health, which includes a kidney transplant, and the latter evidenced the worst of the chemicals that Lupo dumped did not reach the Mahoning River. Both, they argued, are reasons to keep Lupo's penalty light.
Currently on the stand for the prosecution is Kurt Kollar of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, who responded to the dumping during its discovery. Prosecutors say Lupo ordered an employee at Hardrock Excavating LLC to repeatedly dump drilling mud and brine intended for deep injection into a sewer emptying into the Mahoning River watershed, or dumped the material himself, between November 2012 and January 2013.
The employee, 34-year-old Michael Guesman of Cortland, was sentenced to community service and probation.
Sentencing is expected later today for Lupo. Check back at tribtoday.com for updates and read the full story in tomorrow's Tribune Chronicle.