Herrera Sues First Illegal Dumper to be Captured by Newly-Installed Surveillance Cameras

City Attorney, Sup. Maxwell and DPW Chief Abadi Announce Lawsuit Seeking Maximum Civil Penalties Against Bayview Dumper

SAN FRANCISCO (August 23, 2006)-In the first lawsuit of its kind against an individual for illegal dumping, City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against Wilfredo Amaya for repeatedly disposing large amounts of carpet and other debris in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco. Announcing the litigation at a press conference this morning, Herrera was joined by Sup. Sophie Maxwell and Department of Public Works Director Fred Abadi at the intersection of Thomas Avenue and Griffith Street-the site of numerous instances of illegal dumping, despite extensive “No Dumping” signage and newly installed surveillance cameras intended to capture video evidence of illegal dumpers and graffiti scofflaws.

According to the complaint filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, Amaya appears to have been captured on video in the act of illegal dumping at the site from a black van registered to him no fewer than 16 times since the dumping suppression cameras were installed this past April. The lawsuit also cites evidence obtained from carpeting dumped prior to the installation of surveillance cameras that additionally ties Amaya to other illegal dumping episodes at the site as early as December 12, 2005. In total, the City’s lawsuit alleges, Amaya is linked to at least 23 incidents of illegal dumping at the Thomas Avenue and Griffith Street location. According to the Department of Public Works, total taxpayer dollars expended to clean up Amaya’s dumping at the site exceeds $25,000.

“The people of Bayview/Hunter’s Point deserve to live in a neighborhood that is safe, clean and aggressively protected from public nuisances like illegal dumping,” said Herrera. “Wilfredo Amaya’s actions show a blatant disregard for the law, and utter contempt for taxpayers whose dollars have been spent cleaning up his messes for the last nine months. Today’s lawsuit should serve notice to would-be polluters that we will not tolerate illegal dumping or any other environmental injustice in San Francisco.”

“Illegal dumping is a serious issue in San Francisco. Public Works is committed to cleaning up this blight, but today we are proud to announce our partnership with the City Attorney’s office to prevent this kind of activity. It degrades our neighborhoods and our City and those who are caught will be held accountable,” said Fred Abadi, Director of Public Works. “We are especially grateful to Supervisor Maxwell for her continued leadership on this important issue,” he added.

Prompted by the increased frequency of illegal dumping violations in the area, DPW installed six surveillance cameras in the Bayview’s most notorious dumping locations, including the lot at the intersection of Thomas Avenue and Griffith Street that served as the site of today’s press conference. CBX Technology installed the movable cameras last April as a pilot project. Since then, DPW has contracted with the company to provide the six cameras that can easily be moved to hot spot locations throughout the City.

Illegal dumping is a chronic problem in many San Francisco neighborhoods, but perhaps none has been more consistently plagued than Bayview/Hunter’s Point, which according to DPW estimates accounts for fully 35 percent of the annual total refuse that is illegally dumped in the City. From Bayview/Hunter’s Point alone, DPW removes some seven to ten tons of illegally dumped debris every workday. The department stated that illegal dumpers, who also dump toxic materials in addition to construction debris, often choose darkened dead ends in this part of the City, but also frequently dump next to nearby homes, parks and open spaces. The public is encouraged to call DPW at 415-28-CLEAN to report illegal dumping.

Today’s lawsuit filed by the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement and Resident Protection Team cites 23 instances of illegal dumping by Amaya, who is accused of willfully violating state and local laws that include the San Francisco Police Code, California Health and Safety Code, California Penal Code, California Civil Code and engaging in unfair and unlawful business practices in violation of Business and Professions Code Section 17200, also known as the Unfair Competition Law. Apart from a court-ordered injunction barring Amaya from engaging in further illegal dumping activity, the City’s lawsuit seeks restitution, disgorgement of profits, and civil penalties that could total well into the tens of thousands of dollars.

The case is City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Wilfredo Amaya et al, San Francisco Superior Court, filed August 23, 2006.