V.I. Federal Prosecutor Honored for Role in Terminix Case

Methyl Bromide
Methyl Bromide (File photo)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Chisholm was awarded the Gold Medal for Exceptional Service Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan and International Trade Building in Washington DC. for her role in the Department of Justice’s Terminix Enforcement Criminal Team, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.

Chisholm was honored along with Senior Litigation Counsel Howard P. Stewart of the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section.

Chisholm, a 28-year veteran prosecutor in the Virgin Islands U.S. Attorney’s Office, serves as the senior litigation counsel and appellate chief.

“We are grateful for the recognition that EPA has provided in acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication of AUSA Kim Chisholm,” Shappert said in a news release issued Wednesday. “Together with Senior Litigation Counsel Howard Stewart, she spear-headed an important investigation and prosecution which successfully exposed the misapplication of dangerous chemicals in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This award is well-deserved.”

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According to Shappert, the Environmental Protection Agency presented the award in recognition of the federal investigation and prosecution conducted, following the misuse of fumigants by Terminix employees in 2015. As a result of the investigation and prosecution, Jose Rivera, 59, former Branch Manager of Terminix International USVI, LLC was sentenced in January to 12 months in prison for illegally applying fumigants containing methyl bromide in multiple residential locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two of the applications were at the Sirenusa condominium resort complex on St. John, where a family of four fell seriously ill in March 2015, after the unit below them was fumigated. In September 2018, Rivera pleaded guilty to four of the counts of an indictment charging violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act for application of a restricted-use pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its label.

In November 2017, the companies Terminix International LP and Terminix USVI, Rivera’s employer, were sentenced for violations of FIFRA, based on their earlier guilty pleas. Terminix USVI, was sentenced to pay $4.6 million in fines and $1.2 million in restitution to the EPA for response and clean-up costs at the St. John resort. Terminix LP was sentenced to pay a fine of $4.6 million and to perform community service related to training commercial pesticide applicators in fumigation practices and a separate health services training program.

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