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Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Electronics Firm Sued Over $52 Million in Fines

A Santa Ana electronics company has been sued for $52 million in fines and accused of illegally storing and dumping hazardous copper waste.

A layer of waste has formed in the ground at Griffin Electronics Inc. on South Hathaway Street, where copper and copper sulfate have been dumped and improperly stored in barrels for at least a year, according to Diane Stavenhagen Kadletz, an Orange County deputy district attorney who filed the suit Monday.

The owner of the firm, Mateo Ster, declined comment on the lawsuit.

Authorities became concerned a year ago when the Fire Department responded to a report of green liquid oozing through asphalt at the company, Kadletz said.

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County health officials began documenting allegations of violations and tried to persuade the owner to clean up the waste, she said.

“We told him if he didn’t do it we’d sue him,” Kadletz said. “He didn’t do it, so we’re suing him.”

There is no evidence that ground water has been affected by the waste, she said.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled today on a separate criminal complaint filed against the company last month for alleged illegal transportation of the waste to another business owned by Ster, Kadletz said.

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The company has been in operation since 1982, she said.


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