Vermont Landlord, Painters Faulted for Lead Paint

October 11, 2007

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell said this week that a Newport couple who own rental properties will spend $150,000 to mitigate lead paint problems in their properties and make an additional $15,000 in payments to housing programs and the state.

The agreement with Douglas and Vivian Spates was one of two settlements related to lead paint announced by Sorrell. He also said painting contractors Herbert and Karen Thayer had agreed to use safe work practices in removing lead paint, or run the risk of having to pay a $10,000 penalty.

“Lead harms all Vermonters, particularly young children and pregnant women,” Sorrell said in a statement. “Many people are unaware that low levels of lead poisoning in these vulnerable groups can cause reductions in IQ and have been associated with school failure, delinquency and criminal behavior.”

The settlement involving the Spates properties in Newport and other towns requires that they bring their properties up to standard regarding lead paint. The couple agreed to spend at least $150,000 in 2007 and 2008 to eliminate or reduce exposure to lead paint in their buildings built before 1960.

Herbert Thayer “water-blasted” the exterior of a Montpelier building, “showering a neighbor’s property with paint chips, including windows and gardens, with no plastic sheeting to cover the surrounding area,” Sorrell’s statement said.

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