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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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June 17, 2024

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a lawsuit against V Covington Realty LLC and V Covington LLC, Reed Illinois Corporation, K.L.F. Enterprises Inc. and Alliance Environmental Control Inc. over the alleged improper handling and removal of materials containing asbestos during a demolition project at Lake Behavioral Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois.

In addition to filing the complaint in Lake County Circuit Court, Attorney General Raoul filed a motion today seeking entry of an agreed interim order with V Covington Realty LLC and V Covington LLC, the owner and operator of the hospital respectively, that would require them to submit a plan to decontaminate the site and safely finish demolition as required by law.

“The owners and operators of Lake Behavioral Hospital and the contractors they hired for this demolition have jeopardized public health by exposing people to dangerous materials containing asbestos,” Raoul said. “The asbestos must be remediated, and I am committed to ensuring that the defendants are held accountable for creating this hazard and for preventing any further harm to the public’s health and the environment.”

The site at issue consists of three buildings that are no longer in use but are connected to a medical campus that is open to the public. Demolition activities on the site ceased in November 2023. At the time of Raoul’s complaint, one building had been fully demolished, one was partially demolished, and demolition on the other had not begun. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to properly inspect for asbestos before beginning demolition activities, which led to the release of asbestos into the air. The defendants also allegedly failed to properly dispose of materials containing asbestos. The complaint also alleges that the defendants initiated the demolition without giving the required notice and handled asbestos-containing material without a trained on-site representative.

There is no known safe exposure level to asbestos. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Raoul’s lawsuit is based on a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

“Following complaints received about the site, Illinois EPA conducted a thorough inspection and determined there was improper handling of asbestos during the demolition,” said IEPA Director John J. Kim.  “As a result of our investigation, work was ordered to cease at the site, and the matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement.  Illinois EPA has required the site to be secured with 24-hour security along with the wetting of the demolition material.  Illinois EPA also required the submittal of a plan to address cleanup of the site, which has been submitted and is currently under review.”

Raoul also sought leave from the court to enter an agreed interim order. Once entered, the order will require that the defendants:

  • Continue to secure the facility to the IEPA’s satisfaction, refrain from removing any items without prior written approval from the IEPA and continue to take all necessary actions to prevent the discharge or release of asbestos.
  • Submit a commitment letter to IEPA certifying that all future demolition and renovation activities will be performed in compliance with federal, state and local rules and regulations.
  • Hire an Illinois-licensed asbestos professional to perform a complete asbestos inspection of the facility.
  • Submit a plan for decontamination and future demolition at the facility to the IEPA for review and approval.
  • Provide various records and reports related to the release of asbestos at the facility.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart’s office assisted the Attorney General’s office with the lawsuit.

“Everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy community. The release of asbestos at the Lake Behavioral Hospital poses an environmental hazard and is deeply concerning,” Rinehart said. “Our office will work diligently with the Attorney General and the IEPA to hold the corporations accountable, see that the site is properly cleaned up, and mitigate the risk for any additional asbestos releases.”

The lawsuit is part of Attorney General Raoul’s work to hold companies accountable for environmental violations in environmental justice communities. Attorney General Raoul’s Environmental Enforcement Division, which enforces civil environmental laws, has recovered millions of dollars from polluters. Raoul encourages residents to report environmental justice and other environmental concerns to his office by emailing

Assistant Attorneys General Taylor Desgroseilliers, Ann Marie Hanohano and Christina Haddad Scanlon are handling the case for Raoul’s Environmental Bureau.