CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Three members of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority say they have no reservations about the authorities deal with West Virginia Recycling Services, despite the recent resignation of one board member over the agreement.
In a resignation letter filed last week, Greg Sayre cited questionable business practices performed by George Hunyadi, owner of West Virginia Recycling Services.
Hunyadi's company inked a deal with the Solid Waste Authority to run the Slack Street recycling center in December. The building was shuttered last spring after inspectors found structural issues and combustible dust inside.
Sayre, a registered lobbyist who represents for-profit recycling companies, was not permitted to vote or discuss the agreement because of a conflict of interest.
He claimed Hunyadi's company wasn't registered to do business in West Virginia and was not paying into the state workers' compensation and unemployment insurance programs. He said he recently paid for an Internet background check on Hunyadi that turned up "red flags."
He also claimed the building is still unsafe for workers.
When reached for comment, other board members came to Hunyadi's defense.
"I feel that the community needs to support George," said Kay Summers, authority board president. "He has great ideas, and in the end I think this will be very beneficial to the community."
Rod Watkins said Hunyadi was current on workers' comp payments as of March 1.
"As far as I know, everything has been set up properly," Watkins said. "I'm not too concerned about it."
Charleston City Councilwoman Kasey Russell, who also serves on the authority's board, expressed disbelief that Sayre, a man who represents private recyclers in the state, would oppose Hunyadi's efforts.
"We should all be doing whatever we can to make this work for the community," she said. "Trying to dig up dirt just isn't positive."
Sayre said he was trying to make board members aware of problems and called the situation "a travesty."
Sayre claimed Hunyadi was paying workers at Slack Street with checks from Innovative Organics, an Ohio-based company Hunyadi also owns.
"These comments were made to wake the authority up," Sayre said. "They need to be on their toes and watch this guy."
Sayre said it wasn't until he broached the subject that Hunyadi acknowledged not paying for workers' comp.
Hunyadi claimed that he was not experienced in business in West Virginia and that he was thankful to Sayre for pointing out his oversights.
He said Sayre has a vendetta against him.
"I think he is certainly working to damage my credibility," Hunyadi said. "I'm not hiding from anything."
Hunyadi added that he was paying employees out of an Innovative Organics checking account, but said that "wasn't against the law."
Hunyadi acknowledged the facility needs some work, but said he is waiting for warmer weather to begin improvements to the 100-year-old structure.
"When we get some nice weather I can get some contractors in there and fix a whole bunch of stuff," he said.