BRADENTON – Another
former employee of a waterfront condominium complex in
Bradenton has come forward with claims that solid waste was
dumped in mangroves near the property.
The Department of
Environmental Protection, Department of Business and
Professional Regulation and Manatee County Code Enforcement
are investigating complaints about Palma Sola Harbour,
including claims of illegal dumping.
Less than a mile from Palma Sola Harbour’s million-dollar
views, the DEP found evidence of “filling activities,”
according to an inspection report.
“Filling of wetlands and mangrove alteration to permit the
filling activities were observed,” the DEP document states.
Charlie Anderson used to be a Palma Sola
“Years and years, they
continued to dump and dump and they were actually gaining
land by dumping concrete back there,” Anderson said.
Palma Sola manager Matthew Edwards called the claims
“ridiculous” during a brief phone conversation with 8 On
Your Side, but then said he needed to talk with his attorney
before commenting further.
The DEP inspection report states about 1,000 square feet of
wetland was impacted. That’s about the size of a small
house. According to investigators, “wooden materials, tree
debris, glass materials and concrete” were used as fill in
the impacted area.
Anderson acknowledges he knew it was wrong, but also said he
feared “he had to do what he was told to keep his job.”
His co-worker Paul Hallick was fired shortly after he filed
a complaint with Manatee County Code Enforcement with claims
about several issues including the alleged dumping.
Anderson said he was warned not to go public like Hallick.
“And I said well, the cat’s out of the bag. Everyone knows
what’s going on,” Anderson said, recalling a recent
conversation. “And he said we’re trying to put the cat back
in the bag.”
Anderson said a short time after he went to code enforcement
and DEP, he was fired.
“That’s when he said ‘turn in your keys,'” Anderson said.
“I’m angry, frustrated. I hope it stopped and that it will
get cleaned up.”