Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« After Lengthy, Contentious Debate, Council Votes to Put CAO on Leave | Main | GWAR + costumed dogs = the best Tuesday ever! »

October 27, 2009

Milton scrap metal yard may be finally headed to the shredder

Milton's infamous "Junkyard Dog," aka Gil Rhoades, owner and operator of the unlicensed ABC Metals/Rhoades Salvage yard, is finding his leash getting shorter by the day. This afternoon, the Vermont Attorney General's Office filed a motion for preliminary injunction against Rhoades and his wife, Blanche, asking the court to order them to "immediately cease purchasing, accepting or otherwise receiving any junk, junk motor vehicles, scrap metal" and other refuse that constitutes the meat and 'taters of their business. Seems the state may have finally figured out a way — sort of — to deal with the scrappy junkyard dealer who's repeatedly and flagrantly ignored court orders and flouted the law for years by operating without a license for well over a decade.

Today's request for injunctive relief comes just two weeks after a Chittenden Superior Court upheld the Milton Selectboard's decision to deny Rhoades a certificate of approved location, the first step in obtaining a state license. (Rhoades has vowed to appeal that decision to the Vermont Supreme Court.) At issue for the town, among other things, is a tire pile on Rhoades' property so massive and potentially hazardous that, according to Milton's fire chief, if it ever caught fire, there wouldn't be a fire department in the state that could put it out.

Rhoades' neighbors have been fighting for years to get the town and/or state to take action, until now with limited success. Until earlier this year — when the citizens' group Milton CLEAN got the law changed — the problem was partly a matter of jurisdiction: Historically, authority over junkyards belonged not to the Agency of Natural Resources, which has the staff and know-how to address issues of solid waste management, but to the Agency of Transportation. In the pre-cash-for-clunker days of yore, Vermont's junkyards were little more than grass-covered burial grounds where old jalopies were left to rust. ABC Metals has been operating as a junkyard since Eisenhower was in office.

The bigger problem with ABC Metals, as far as the town and the state are concerned, is the classic rule of retail: You break it, you own it. Simply put, the Agency of Natural Resources has been reluctant to come down on Rhoades too hard for fear that the 67-year-old codger will simply flip the state the bird, walk away from his towering pile of crap and run out the clock down in sunny Phoenix or Boca Raton. If he does, Vermont taxpayers would be on the hook for disposing of the 100,000+ tires on the site, not to mention paying for whatever environmental remediation is needed. As Gary Kessler, director of the Vermont DEC's center for compliance and enforcement, put it, "If this guy goes out of business today or tomorrow or next week, I don't know. Bake sale? How else are you going to get all those tires out of there?"

Put leopold and kiss in a car and squash them together in a junkyard. a deserving end to to the dastardly duo. Sorry for the harsh comments but it has come to the point where it dont matter anymore.
scum scum everywhere scum do this dont do that that but please worry about taxpayer concerns.

Gil claims he's in the right as he is "grandfathered" because he has been running his tire pile for so long. Does this mean that if I was taking acid in 1963 before it was made illegal I'm allowed to continue because I'm "grandfathered" How does that work anyway?
A man can make the same mistake over and over for years and claim it's experience.

HI this is mike with mike's wheel crushing if any of his tires have rims lets say half of them do 500,000 i would crush and remove those tires free of charge!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684