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by Mark Reutter10:32 amJun 24, 20240

Baltimore County trash hauler committed $224,000 in fraud, inspector general reports

The company illegally commingled commercial with residential garbage to avoid tipping fees, the IG said.

Above: Baltimore County Inspector General Kelly Madigan. (Mark Reutter)

Baltimore County Inspector General Kelly Madigan says a veteran trash hauler illegally commingled commercial with residential garbage to avoid an estimated $224,000 in county tipping fees.

The alleged fraud dated back to “at least 2018” and continued through last August.

Following today’s release of the report, the Johnny Olszewski administration said it will take steps to collect the $224,000 from the trash hauler and end its contract with the company.

The trash hauler is unnamed in the report and by the administration, but was identified to The Brew as Ruppert’s Sanitation Inc.

Reached this morning at its Owings Mills’ office, a company employee said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when questioned about the report or investigation.

Owner William D. Ruppert was “on vacation” and no other person was available to speak to a reporter, the employee said, before hanging up.

An investigation by Madigan’s office, undertaken in 2022, found that the company regularly commingled commercial and residential trash, then dumped the material for free as a residential hauler.

The IG traced more than 2,200 tons of garbage illegally dumped at the county’s Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh that, if properly identified, would have resulted in a $100 per ton fee.

In a written response to the report, D’Andrea Walker, the county administrative officer, vowed to collect the unpaid fees, plus $4,000 in fines for violations of the service agreement. This action will result in the automatic termination of the county’s contract with the trash hauler.

Walker also said the Bureau of Solid Waste Management (BSWM) began last October to conduct spot checks of trash at its facilities “for any suspicious items or contaminated/unacceptable materials.”

GPS on Garbage Trucks

The Madigan report recommends that the Olszewski administration require trash haulers to include global positioning systems (GPS) and cameras on their vehicles.

Walker made no promises, saying the county will take the recommendation “into consideration the next time that hauling contracts are negotiated.”

Prior to becoming county administrator, Walker headed up the Department of Public Works & Transportation that includes the solid waste division.

“DPWT will continue to evaluate BSWM policies to ensure against future instances of fraud” and “will continue to monitor transactions for suspicious activity,” Walker said.

While her office was not permitted to interview the owner of the trash company, “the company, through its counsel, was cooperative throughout the investigation in that it provided records in response to the office’s subpoena,” Madigan reported.

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