I’ve learned that the parent company of Guitar Center, Ares Management, recently facilitated the sale of a Superfund toxic waste dump to a hospital.
“On March 27, Willkie helped its client, an affiliate of Ares Management, L.P.(owner of Guitar Center), sell an office condominium unit comprising approximately 375,000 square feet in the 1 million square foot mixed use complex located at 1111 Marcus Avenue on Long Island, New York to North Shore University Hospital…The sale was complicated by ongoing environmental remediation efforts by former owner Lockheed Martin on the property, which is a state Superfund site.”
In the case of above mentioned hospital, there are environmental controls in place, in order to prevent exposure to people who visit the facility. However, these institutional controls are known to fail. An example would be the incident at Google, in 2011, when a worker switched off the ventilation system, subsequently exposing hundreds of Googlers to Trichloroethylene (TCE), a now banned cleaning and cooling agent which is know to cause cancer when the fumes are inhaled, or the same chemical present in the groundwater under the Ares property.
From the EPA’s Record of Decision (ROD) for the site:
“Volatile organic compounds in contaminated groundwater or soil may move into the soil vapor (air spaces within the soil), which in turn, may move into overlying buildings and affect indoor air quality. This process, which is similar to the movement of radon gas from the subsurface into the indoor air of buildings, is referred to as subsurface vapor intrusion. The potential for subsurface vapor intrusion to impact indoor air has been addressed in current on-site structures by the continued operations of sub-slab depressurization systems (active and passive) and a soil vapor extraction system. Based on environmental sampling, the potential exists for people to inhale site contaminants in indoor air due to soil vapor intrusion in any future on-site building development and occupancy (if those institutional controls fail -ed.).”
The property is also the former United Nations building. Before the toxic waste was discovered via the Superfund project, every world leader – and anyone else for that matter – who entered the building was exposed to Trichloroethelyne. For those out there that think there is some global conspiracy to eliminate the poor, rest assured that no class of people has been spared exposure to hazardous chemicals, by the US government.