YOUNGSTOWN — Richard J. Sickelsmith, 63, of State Route 7, New Waterford, was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty to a solid and hazardous waste charge involving the closed facility of Sebring Industrial Plating.
Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony D’Apolito sentenced him on Wednesday after Sickelsmith pleaded guilty to a criminal offense on March 25.
Sickelsmith was ordered to begin paying restitution at no less than $400 a month for the five years of his probation, said Martin Hume, an assistant county attorney. Of the $1 million, $446,000 is owed to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the remaining $654,000 is owed to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
These two agencies are owed because they handled the cleanup of hazardous waste that was stored on the property at 546 W. Tennessee Ave. in Sebring, Hume said.
Prosecutors recommended that Sickelsmith be sentenced to two years in prison, but D’Apolito ordered no jail time. Sickelsmith does not have a significant criminal record, Hume said.
In March 2021, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspected the facility, which was not in operation. The inspection revealed that at least 38,000 pounds of hazardous waste was stored in various areas of the property.
The company did not have a permit to store them, according to an EPA document. The company stored the waste “for several years, some as early as 2016,” according to an April 28 EPA notice of violation.
Two other people have also been charged in the case – Samual L. Hopper Jr., 25 13th Street, Sebring, and Brian A. Hopper Jr., 23 13th Street, Sebring, each charged with two charges for hazardous solids and wastes. Their cases are pending. Both are set for a preliminary hearing at 9:30 a.m. on May 26.
If the Hoppers are found guilty in the case, they will also be ordered to pay compensation for the cleanup, Hume said.
Sickelsmith owned the property and business at one point and later sold it to the Hoppers, who are brothers, Hume said. The EPA was investigating complaints about the company at the time Sickelsmith sold it to the Hoppers, and the violations found by the EPA were listed in the purchase agreement, Hume said.