Recordings indicate Kilgore College staffers improperly handled and
disposed of asbestos materials
By Bridget Ortigo email@example.com | Posted: Monday,
December 1, 2014
Kilgore College (Longview, Texas) maintenance workers hid the
burial of hundreds of pounds of hazardous materials and covered up illegal
asbestos abatements “all over campus,” according to admissions made in audio
recordings obtained by the News-Journal.
College Maintenance Supervisor Rick Murphy said in the recordings made
last month by Physical Plant Supervisor Dalton Smith that he also had hauled
hundreds of pounds of hazardous materials from campus to be illegally buried
The admissions by Murphy, Safety and Logistics Director Terry Huckaby and
Perry Myers, the college’s supervisor of outsourced custodial services, add
more names to the list of those suggesting the college for years has been
improperly handling asbestos, putting students, staff and others at risk of
exposure to the carcinogenic material.
The college has denied the allegations first made by Smith, but there has
been disagreement among the college’s spokesman, who said a college official
has long approved “small” abatements to be done by maintenance staff, and
the college president, who said no such activities have been conducted by
Neither the official who was said to OK such operations, Director of
Special Projects Dan Beach, nor President Bill Holda nor college spokesman
Chris Craddock returned phone calls seeking comment. Murphy and Huckaby
declined to comment on the recordings, which were provided to the newspaper
In one of the recordings, Murphy reassures Smith about their activities.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Murphy says. “You’re one of the smaller
fish. Big fish is Holda and then Dan (Beach) and (President of Finance)
The maintenance staffers go on to talk about the extent of asbestos on
“It’s all over this campus. Everybody is (exposed),” Huckaby says. “We’re
aware of it, but we don’t have any control of fixing it. (The
administration) ain’t going to put us under the bus.”
Buried on, off campus
The dump sites discussed include the residence of former Maintenance
Supervisor Leon Dodgen, the Kilgore Police Department’s firing range and a
spot underneath chillers in the mechanical building east of the fine arts
building on campus, Murphy says.
Smith discusses the illegal dumping and abatements in a recording with
Huckaby, and Smith tells Huckaby that Murphy confessed to dumping materials
at Dodgen’s house.
“Now, I do know that,” Huckaby replies.
Smith asks Huckaby why they would haul it to Dodgen’s house.
“Just to get rid of it,” Huckaby says. “They probably figured they could
push it all off over there and nobody would know about it, and it’d be OK.”
In another recording, Smith talks to Murphy about Dodgen visiting the
college before a recent Environmental Protection Agency Peer Audit review.
Smith has said Dodgen told him not to bring EPA auditors to his property.
“There’s a ton of stuff out there,” Murphy says about Dodgen’s property.
“Dodgen did it just to get rid of stuff. I’ve took dump truck loads of stuff
out there. There’s stuff sitting around everywhere out there.”
Murphy also tells Smith he dumped asbestos materials in dumpsters “all
over the place” after an abatement at the Old Main building.
“I probably took a couple pickup loads of trash bags,” Murphy says. “Took
them out in double bags ... to dumpsters all over the place ... just doing
what I was told. I suited up (for the abatement).”
Murphy talks of burying a “bunch” of materials under chillers behind the
Fine Arts Building under the direction of Jerry Rayburn, the college’s
former maintenance supervisor.
Smith also asks Murphy for an inventory list of all illegal asbestos
abatement sites on campus over the years.
In response, Murphy tells Smith of an abatement he did earlier this year
at the college’s new Health Sciences Center, half of which belongs to
Allegiance Hospital as a working medical facility. The college renovated the
other half this year to house its health science classes.
Smith asks Murphy in another recording how much he abated at the
hospital, to which Murphy replies, “50 feet of (wall) base.”
Murphy then recalls a Transet Co. worker at the hospital renovation who
caught Murphy removing the asbestos material.
“He asked, ‘That asbestos?’ I said ‘No,’ ” Murphy said, then laughter is
heard on the recording.
Murphy also tells Smith he did two abatements at Dodson Auditorium.
Smith asks about the size of the abatements.
“Ten square feet, between the two of them,” Murphy replies.
Huckaby also talks about an illegal asbestos abatement done by him and
Murphy in Dodson Auditorium during Rangerettes Revels this year.
“I was in there. I was holding the bag while (Murphy) scraped it,”
Murphy goes on to talk about illegal abatements done at the college in
“At the Old Main, I took it all out, in the late ’90s,” Murphy said. “I
knew it was wrong. Under Jerry Rayburn, I’d come in at night, suit up. Wet
it down. But it wasn’t right. It was all under the covers.”
Murphy also told Smith he removed asbestos at the Bonnie Porter Business
Smith and Murphy then discuss abatements in offices at the fine arts
EPA Peer Audit
The workers also talk about the college’s recent Environmental Protection
Agency Peer Audit review, in which auditors did not examine areas of
violations and college workers did not tell the auditors of any violations,
under the college administration’s advisement.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Huckaby says.
Smith told the News-Journal that he has repeatedly attempted to tell the
college’s administration of violations and could not find a listening ear.
In recordings that were the subject of an earlier story, Smith takes
Beach on a tour of possible asbestos exposure sites around campus.
Smith said he had offered to let Holda and other administrators listen to
the recordings he made, but the offer was declined.
In one recording, Smith talks with Huckaby, Myers and Murphy about
federal investigators checking into claims of environmental violations at
Smith tells the workers he has talked to FBI and EPA officials, who are
investigating the college.
“They didn’t promise me any amnesty from the stuff I did,” Smith says.
“We didn’t have the right to expose anybody (through illegal asbestos
abatements) without air testing.”
Smith asks the workers if they want to voluntarily talk to investigators
and advises them to hire personal attorneys.
“If you told them everything you know,” Myers says, “then there’s all
kinds of chips out there.”
Smith tells the three that investigators asked him not to tell anyone of
the investigation but says Beach already knew the FBI was investigating the
college for other matters.
“Oh yeah, they’ve been here a long time,” Myers says.