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Fwd: Citibank Gets Caught Again

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  • Alberto M. Giordano
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2002
      >Audrey Hudson
      >The Environmental Protection Agency's independent
      >investigator said the agency violated a court order this
      >week by trying to confiscate his files, which may be
      >embarrassing to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.
      >Mrs. Whitman tried to dissolve the ombudsman position held
      >by Robert J. Martin earlier this month, and to move the
      >files into the office of the inspector general.
      >However, a temporary restraining order against the move was
      >issued by U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Roberts until
      >a full hearing could be held.
      >The order is in effect until Feb. 26.
      >A spokesman for Mr. Martin, Hugh B. Kaufman, said five
      >employees attempted to remove all files, records and file
      >cabinets on Wednesday but were stopped by a senior
      >Mr. Kaufman called the incident harassment and said it was
      >retaliation against Mr. Martin for investigations that
      >exposed a financial conflict of interest between Mrs.
      >Whitman's husband and polluters at two cleanup sites.
      >EPA spokesman Joe Martyak did not return calls yesterday for
      >In a memo to Mrs. Whitman, Mr. Kaufman sought assurances
      >"files that may be embarrassing to you and/or EPA will not
      >disappear in the future."
      >John Whitman is the managing partner of a venture capital
      >firm controlled by Citicorp, a subsidiary of Citigroup, a
      >diversified financial corporation.
      >Additionally, Citigroup stocks valued between $100,000 and
      >$250,000 are listed in Mrs. Whitman's financial disclosure
      >Citigroup is responsible for the original botched cleanup of
      >the Shattuck Superfund site in Colorado and will pay
      >one-fifth of the $35 million cost. A Citigroup financial
      >partner also is responsible for the cleanup at the Marjol
      >Battery in Pennsylvania.
      >Mr. Martin's files contain information on both cleanup
      >operations, and his investigations are supported by key
      >Senate Republicans.
      >"Since this action on your part and/or the part of EPA
      >officials under your influence or control is a direct
      >violation of Judge Roberts' orders of Jan. 11, 2002, I
      >respectfully ask that you cease and desist your continued
      >illegal actions in retaliation against National Ombudsman
      >Martin for honestly performing his duties, even if those
      >duties might end up costing Citigroup (the company you have
      >a financial conflict of interest in) more money in cleaning
      >up hazardous waste sites," Mr. Kaufman said in the memo to
      >Mrs. Whitman.
      >A spokesman for Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, said
      >any violation of the court order is "unacceptable."
      >"We must obey the law in this case, and the EPA is not above
      >the law," said spokesman Sean Conway.
      > "For them to be acting in this manner is extremely
      >disappointing to Senator Allard."
      >Mr. Martin and Mr. Kaufman met yesterday with Sen. Michael
      >D. Crapo, Idaho Republican.
      >Mr. Crapo finds the apparent violation distressing,
      >spokeswoman Susan Wheeler said after the meeting.
      >"Senator Crapo wants the ombudsman to be able to do his work
      >as independently and as effectively as possible," Miss
      >Wheeler said.
      >The ombudsman's office handles citizen complaints and has
      >been critical of the Clinton administration. Mrs. Whitman
      >wants to combine that office with the inspector general's
      >Mr. Martin's office is also at odds with the EPA over the
      >reopening of the Hart Senate Office Building and initial
      >testing of air quality at the cleanup site of the World
      >Trade Center.
      >Mr. Martin said toxic chemical gas used to fumigate the
      >anthrax-contaminated Hart Building could pose a long-term
      >health threat to senators and congressional staffers.
      > He also said the cleanup could have been accomplished for
      >less money using safer, nonchemical treatments.
      > Mr. Kaufman also said no samples were taken of air quality
      >at apartments and office buildings near ground zero.
      >This article was mailed from The Washington Times
      >For more great articles, visit us at
      >Copyright (c) 2001 News World Communications, Inc. All
      >rights reserved.

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