A Settlement in Diaz Chemical Case
Updated: Sunday, October 20 2013, 12:47 AM EDT
Holley, N.Y. - After a decade-long legal battle in Orleans County, a cash settlement will be paid out to more than 100 people who sued Diaz Chemical in Holley.
In was January 2002 when chemicals poured from the plant.
Homes and cars were covered with debris.
Eleven years later, homes are still uninhabitable and the former Diaz Chemical plant still stands - abandoned.
Those affected by the 2002 spill that still live in the town say the settlement letters that came Saturday give little justice to how that one day forever changed their lives.
“To see all those empty houses day after day for 11 years it really torks you off,” said Ellen Germeo who lives in her childhood home with her sister, around the corner from the former Diaz Chemical.
The sisters and others have worked hard over the last decade to help bring Diaz Chemical to justice. But the letter she got in Saturday’s mail gave her little resolve.
“It brings an end of the one thing to it, but when you get down to the bottom they've offered us $1,105.21 and under it, it says you won't be able to get it for three months because the federal government wants their Medicare money out of it before I get my money,” said Germeo.
Attorney Alan Knauf, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case, said there wasn't money to get for their clients because Diaz Chemical went bankrupt.
“I don't think they got what they deserve because both companies went bankrupt,” said Knauf. “Unfortunately Diaz caused an environmental catastrophe and did not end up paying what they should have to compensate the people.”
But for Germeo money, no matter could ever fix what’s been lost.
“I hope someday him - they pay for what they did to this village,” said Germeo. “It really ruined the whole town. Some of us said we were nuts it was all in our heads but they lived far enough over that they didn't get it, they didn't get the smells, [and] they didn't get the stink up their sewer. You can't change that.”
Attorney Knauf said a good thing they were able to do was convince the EPA to clean up the chemicals left behind by Diaz Chemical.