Craig Post and his Springfield-based Advantage Waste company want to open the long-delayed Southwest Regional Landfill in Jasper County and Post's approach in his efforts to do so has been praised by the Joplin Globe's editorial writers.
"While the residents have valid concerns, Advantage Waste appears to be taking the correct approach to its idea of reviving the landfill," the Globe editorial board said in the Dec. 28 edition.
"We applaud Post and Advantage Waste for their openness," the editorial said.
It is a fortunate thing the Globe hedged its support of Post with the word "appears," for U. S. District Court records, and records filed with the Missouri secretary of state's office indicate there is some information that Post has not told area residents, including members of Citizens for Environmental Safety, the group which thus far has successfully fought the battle to keep a landfill out of their backyard.
The documents indicate the timing, not only of the latest efforts to open the landfill, but also of the creation of Advantage Waste, is suspicious and that Advantage Waste and the Southwest Regional Landfill have been connected for more than five years.
Lawsuit alleges Advantage Waste owes nearly half a million
In a lawsuit filed June 1 in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, American Disposal Services of the Ozarks and BFI Waste Systems of North America, Inc., claim Advantage Waste, Post, and two other companies owned by Post, CHP Investments, Inc., and CHP Environmental, Inc., owe them nearly half a million dollars and they are suing Post for breach of contract.
Court records indicate Post and his companies entered into a contract with American Disposal and BFI Sept. 29, 2000. "In exchange for the payments to plaintiffs," the records say, "CHP investments and its affiliates were able to dispose of up to 700 tons per day of certain waste at plaintiffs' landfills and transfer stations.'
The disposal began almost immediately after the papers were signed, but the lawsuit alleges Post and his three companies owe $463,857.65. American Disposal and BFI are seeking that amount, interest, attorneys' fees, court costs, and any other fees the court deems reasonable.
The same charges are leveled against Post and his companies on three counts: breach of contract, account stated, and unjust enrichment. The same amount of money is mentioned in each count.
Companies may be headed toward settlement
American Disposal's lawsuit against Craig Post and Advantage Waste may never come to trial. Documents filed Dec. 22 in U. S. District Court indicate both sides have asked that court action in the lawsuit be put on hold due to "ongoing settlement efforts."
"On or about Nov. 30, 2004, plaintiff American Disposal Services of Missouri, Inc., and defendant CHP Investments, Inc., among other parties, entered into an agreement regarding certain transactions between the parties. The closing date of the proposed transactions is currently contemplated to be Dec. 30, 2005. This agreement provides that the debt which is at issue in this case will be paid by mid-February 2006." If the deal works out, the documents indicate, the lawsuit will be dismissed.
Documents indicate Jasper County landfill at center of deal
While the timing of Mr. Post's recent push to open the Jasper County landfill and the announcement of settlement talks with American Disposal and BFI is highly suspect, the two companies' connection with the Southwest Regional Landfill appears to date back at least five years.
In fact, the agreement may have started with the July 20, 1999, court order which required Allied Waste Industries Inc., to divest itself of certain properties and businesses, including its option on the Southwest Regional Landfill, as part of its purchase of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). That order was issued to prevent Allied from establishing a waste disposal monopoly.
The court's disposal order included the following:
-"Allied's option to purchase the proposed Southwest Regional Landfill."
-"Allied's Tate Transfer Station, located at Route 2, Box 69, Verona, MO 65769. Relevant hauling assets, unless otherwise noted, means with respect to each commercial waste collection route or other hauling asset described herein, all tangible assets, including capital equipment, trucks and other vehicles, containers, interests, permits, supplies, real property, and improvements to real property (i.e. buildings and garages), and it includes all intangible assets, including hauling-related customer lists, contracts, leasehold interests, and accounts."
-"Allied's commercial routes that serve the city of Springfield and Greene and Christian counties," including municipal solid waste and "the business of disposing of waste into approved disposal sites."
Documents from U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicate that the final modification to the agreement was made on Aug. 9, 2000. Two days later, Advantage Waste and CHP Investments, Inc., registered with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. The registered agent for Advantage was Craig H. Post, while his father, Cornelius H. Post, was the registered agent for CHP Investments.
Agreement between Advantage, American Disposal hinged on Jasper County landfill
The connection between Advantage Waste and the Southwest Regional Landfill dates back five and a half years, according to an exhibit filed in the lawsuit against Advantage Waste.
According to the exhibit, on June 9, 2000, American Disposal and CHP entered into an agreement for CHP to take over Allied's trash routes in the Springfield area. The agreement "shall commence as of the effective date or three months following the date the Southwest Regional Landfill located at Missouri State Highway M, Township 30N, Range 32 West, Section 34, in Jasper County, Missouri, is opened. If the Southwest Regional Landfill is not opened by the fourth anniversary of the effective date, CHP shall have the option to extend this agreement for up to six additional one-year terms for a total term of 10 years if all options are exercised, provided however, any then current renewal term and all subsequent options shall terminate three months after the opening of the Southwest Regional Landfill."
The contract was entered into on Sept. 29, 2000, according to court documents. The four years ended on Sept. 29, 2004, and the lawsuit was filed about eight months later.
It would appear that the Southwest Regional Landfill has been a key factor in the existence of Advantage Waste for the entire five years since it registered in the state.
Advantage registrations coincide with announcement of possible settlement
The final indication that a more thorough examination of Advantage Waste and CHP Investments might be wise comes from the timing of the court filing of a possible settlement in American Disposal's lawsuit against Advantage and CHP.
The court documents were filed Dec. 22...the same day that a limited liability company, Advantage Waste LLC was registered with the Missouri Secretary of State's office. The registered agent was CT Corporation System, Clayton, MO., a company specializing in corporate filings which does the filing for hundreds of companies that do business in the state. One day earlier, Craig H. Post filed registration papers for Advantage Waste Service, Inc., a company owned wholly by AWS Holdings, Springfield, with Post serving as president.
Before anything is decided, state officials should get a better idea of just who it is that is actually behind the plan to open the Southwest Regional Landfill.