NEW YORK A bitter dispute
between electronics recycler Intercon Solutions Inc. and
environmental advocacy group Basel Action Network (BAN) has
moved into the courts.
Chicago Heights, Ill.-based
Intercon Solutions has filed a lawsuit against BAN and its
executive director, James Puckett, seeking damages for alleged
Intercon has accused BAN and
Puckett of defaming the company by making false accusations
that Intercon Solutions shipped hazardous waste to China in
BAN last July accused Intercon
of illegally shipping containers of hazardous electronic waste
to China. A few weeks later, Intercon said it had obtained
shipping documents showing it wasnt the shipper
(AMM, Aug. 1).
An inspection report from China
Certification & Inspection (Group) Co. Ltd. showed that one
of the two containers held mixed metal automotive parts and not
hazardous substances (AMM, Aug. 8), Intercon said, but
it didnt address details of the one container BAN alleged
contained hazardous electronic waste.
A week later, a Hong Kong
environmental official confirmed that one container did contain
hazardous electronic waste. However, Hong Kongs
Environmental Protection Department told AMM it
didnt know who shipped the container and would
investigate the matter (AMM, Aug. 17). No further
details have emerged as a result of the investigation.
The allegations and
counter-allegations led to Intercon being barred last year from
BANs e-Stewards certification process.
In the lawsuit, filed in Cook
County (Ill.) Circuit Court, Intercon alleges that BAN went to
the companys location in Chicago Heights last summer
"under the pretense of an audit for e-Stewards
certification but in reality sought to obtain further
information for BANs ongoing surveillance and undercover
investigation of Intercon Solutions."
The company alleges that BAN and
Puckett knew or should have known that the accusations in
BANs evidentiary report "were false because BAN did not
have compelling evidence and in fact had no
evidence that Intercon Solutions shipped CRT (cathode ray tube)
glass and batteries to China."
Intercon claims that BANs
allegations have resulted in "lost customers and sustained
substantial financial losses" to the company.
As a result of BANs
accusations, R2 Solutions delisted Intercon from its directory
of recyclers, "which contributed further financial damage and
loss of business," Intercon alleges.
"Intercon Solutions has suffered
tremendously due to these false accusations," Intercon chief
executive officer Brian Brundage said in a statement. "Beyond
the financial losses, BAN and Puckett robbed Intercon Solutions
of its good name. Through this lawsuit, we intend to get back
our good name and recover for the unconscionable damage that
BAN and Puckett have inflicted on the Intercon Solutions
Puckett told AMM that
BAN had not had a chance to review the Intercon lawsuit.
"However, we stand by our statements and are very confident in
them. It is our mission to prevent international toxic waste
dumping while promoting responsible industry leaders. We will
not be intimidated by blustery denials or efforts to silence
the messenger. This is our job as an environmental non-profit
public interest organization and we will defend our right to do
it vigorously," he said.