June 21, 2023
Media Relations Division
Atlas Metal, Owners Charged With Illegally Disposing Hazardous Waste at its Facility and Onto Jordan High School
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that a 24-count complaint has been filed today against S&W Atlas Iron and Metal Corp., and its owners for illegally disposing hazardous waste, some of which was deposited on the grounds of Jordan High School in Watts.
“The charging of Atlas Metal for their environmental crimes is a step toward justice for the children of Jordan High School and the community of Watts.” District Attorney George Gascon said. “Children deserve a safe and healthy environment to learn and grow in, and we must hold companies accountable for their actions that put our children’s health at risk. This serves as a reminder that we must prioritize the well-being of our communities and take action against those who prioritize profits over people.”
“The action taken today by the District Attorney supports our abiding concern about the dangerous environmental health and safety impacts to our schools that result from incompatible land uses,” Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Never has this been more important than in underserved communities who are often confronted by adverse industrial impacts that cause air, water and land pollution. Los Angeles Unified has been and will always maintain the firm resolve to support environmental policies that protects its students and staff from such health and safety risks.
We urge the city, county, state and federal officials to aggressively and expeditiously join the District in pursuing a solution that eliminates such health and safety risks as well as the incompatible use of the Atlas property that has impacted Jordan High School and the Watts community.”
The company and its owners, Gary Weisenberg (dob 8/27/46) and Matthew Weisenberg (dob 1/28/88) were each charged with 21 felony counts of knowingly disposing hazardous waste at a site with no permit and one felony count of deposit of hazardous waste. They also each face one misdemeanor count of failure to maintain or operate a facility to minimize the possibility of a fire and public nuisance.
Arraignment is scheduled for June 26 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The case was filed on June 15.
Dating back to July 2020, the complaint alleges that the defendants violated state environmental laws by not properly getting rid of hazardous waste. Soil samples taken from an area of the high school that is adjacent to the Atlas facility showed excessive concentrations of lead and zinc. Additional samples taken at Atlas found excessive concentrations of seven metals.
Metal debris allegedly from Atlas has been found at the high school.
The case was investigated by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Health Hazardous Materials Division with assistance from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.