With much of the region angry with him, it's probably a good time for Gary Sayers to report to federal prison, no matter what his lawyer says. He did so on Friday.
Sayers, 77, is described in a pre-sentencing memo as "sometimes confused" and “contrite, humbled and embarrassed to be a convicted felon,” according to attorney James Thomas of Sterling Heights.
Still, he pled guilty to illegally storing hazardous materials at the metal-plating firm in Madison Heights, determined to be the source of a chemical leak onto I-696 later determined to contain hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. Sayers was sentenced in November to a year in prison.
Lawyer Thomas asked for mercy (and probation), describing his client as an object of pity. The Free Press reports:
Sayers inherited an auto supplier that produced chrome-plated steel, a once-lucrative industry in metro Detroit. But the lawyer's memo said his client recently supported himself “by scrapping metal” and “selling off his assets.” The memo adds that Sayers “reads the Wall Street Journal and often quotes prominent conservative writers."
Federal prosecutors, needless to say, disagreed in their own memo:
It said Sayers was president and owner of his firm for 23 years and that he'd had “numerous run-ins with environmental authorities” for decades over his repeated violations of hazardous waste laws, including a prior criminal conviction, and that Sayers knew exactly what those laws required him to do.
“Despite all this, he knowingly and persistently violated the law,” the prosecutors wrote, as they advised the judge to follow federal guidelines with a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months.
... Anticipating that the judge would demand that Sayers pay a fine to cover the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's costly cleanup, prosecutors pointed out that the defendant was far from being a subsistence-level metal scrapper forced to sleep in his car. He owned a valuable building in Detroit and it was for sale, they said: “Sayers recently signed an agreement to sell the property located at 5900 Commonwealth in Detroit for $2,500,000, which he stated he purchased for $125,000.00. No balance or mortgage exists for the property.”
Won't somebody send this poor old man a Wall Street Journal subscription to whatever minimum-security federal lockup will be his home for the next year?