Court Rules Wife Must Pay for Husband's Tire Pond

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Jan. 6 praised a Superior Court decision requiring Joseph J. Farricielli's wife to pay about $6 million in fines, clean-up costs, and interest related to his operation of a massive illegal tire pond. Blumenthal filed the case on behalf of Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Gina McCarthy to collect penalties imposed in a 2001 judgment against Farricielli.

Superior Court Judge James M. Bentivegna ruled that Blumenthal could "pierce the corporate veil" to collect the money from State Five Industrial Park, Inc. in Hamden and other assets owned by Farricielli's wife, Jean L. Farricielli. The judge rejected the Farriciellis' claim that Jean Farricielli's business and other holdings are separate and distinct from her husband's assets and therefore not liable to pay the damages and clean up costs.

Joseph Farricielli claimed he has no assets. Blumenthal's office estimates that assets in the name of Farricielli's wife, including State Five Industrial Park and the couple's Branford home, are worth at least $2 million.

Blumenthal said, "This decision is a major victory in the long war to hold accountable these defiant, devious and unrepentant polluters, clearing the way for the state to finally collect millions of dollars in fines and clean up costs. The court rightly rejected the Farriciellis' farcical claims of financial independence. We have shut down the Farriciellis' shell game to evade their legal obligation to pay court-imposed fines and costs. This ruling sends a powerful message: Shuffling, shifting, or secreting your assets to stiff the state is futile.

"This decision is a significant step toward cleaning up the environmental nightmare created by the Farriciellis. My office will continue to vigorously and aggressively pursue full payment from the Farriciellis for the grievous environmental damage they wrought and walked away from."

The Farriciellis owe the state $2.3 million, the town of Hamden $1.2 million, and $600,000 for cleanup of the tire pond. In addition, the court ordered the Farriciellis to pay 10 percent interest for each year they have delayed payment, bringing the total to about $6 million.

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