Following an investigation, 7,500 cubic tons of hazardous waste was removed from the site of 20905 Mapleridge Ave., the former Simply Construction & Excavating LLC and Metropolitan Environmental LLC.

Following an investigation, 7,500 cubic tons of hazardous waste was removed from the site of 20905 Mapleridge Ave., the former Simply Construction & Excavating LLC and Metropolitan Environmental LLC.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Southfield property charged with operating an illegal dump

Tons of asbestos removed from neighborhood property

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published January 10, 2024


SOUTHFIELD — A business and its owner were found liable for operating an illegal dump at 20905 Mapleridge Ave. in Southfield, with asbestos and other hazardous materials found on-site.

According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, this latest ruling against Metropolitan Environmental LLC comes after years of noncompliance with environmental laws and failure to address past court judgments. A monetary judgment was ordered against the business and its owner, Lamar Grace, 52, of Southfield, in the amount of $125,000 each. The state seized corporate assets and will auction them off to satisfy a portion of the judgment owed: a 2014 Ford F-250 truck, a 2007 Mack 600 semitruck and a 2006 International 700 dump truck.

The press release also stated that in 2022, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy sued Metropolitan Environmental LLC, Grace, and Simply Construction and Excavation LLC. However, Simply Construction no longer has a valid mailing address. The parties were sued for violations of air quality and materials management provisions of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act by operating an unlicensed solid waste dump and improperly storing hazardous waste at the site, which was located in a residential neighborhood, officials said.

According to EGLE’s site investigation and waste sampling, solid waste from at least 18 demolition sites, each of which contained asbestos materials and other types of hazardous materials, was found at the Mapleridge property.

Southfield city records show that 20905 Mapleridge Ave. was purchased for $60,000 by Grace in July 2013. Grace failed to pay $14,500 in taxes, and the property was turned over to the Oakland County treasurer in March 2019. A few months later, in July 2019, the property was sold to the city of Southfield for $14,447. In October 2019, the city sold the property to the Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative for $14,447.

In court documents, Grace indicated that he was unaware of any debris at the site.

“In your response to your Violation Notice, LaMar Grace, Simply Construction & Excavating LLC/Metropolitan Environmental LLC doesn’t own the property located at 20905 Mapleridge Avenue, Southfield, MI 48075; additionally, we are unaware of any debris at said site. Should you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me,” the documents state.

Grace could not be reached for comment on the matter.

The Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative does not have a website, but the city of Southfield’s website states that the goal of the group is “to renew Southfield neighborhoods house by house in an effort to improve and maintain property values for all Southfield residents.” The president of the group is Southfield City Administrator Frederick Zorn.

While Southfield Mayor Ken Siver is not a member of the initiative, he is the board president of the Southfield Non-Profit Housing Corp., which was founded in 1973 with the mission of “providing comfortable spaces for everyone in our city.” According to its website, it “maintains quality communities for seniors, the disabled and eligible families.” Zorn is also a part of the SNHC, serving as the board second vice president.

Siver visited the property. “At the least, it was irresponsible, and at the most, it was illegal,” he said.

He explained that the asbestos and hazardous waste were found at the property by Habitat for Humanity Oakland County staff, who work with the SNRI.

“Staff of Habitat for Humanity Oakland County discovered that massive amount of dumped materials and abandoned vehicles in the rear and north side of the property,” Siver stated. “As the refuse was examined, it was discovered that bags of asbestos-containing materials were present.”

According to the press release from the Attorney General’s Office, 7,500 cubic tons of solid waste were disposed of from the site.

The property was sold in April 2021 to the transportation company next door, 20905 Mapleridge Ave. LLC, for $110,000.

“The SNRI, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Oakland County, coordinated the cleanup with a private contractor. The SNRI paid for the cleanup,” Siver said. “I am not sure of the cost. I believe it was in the neighborhood of $93,000. The cleanup took place in 2020, and the property was sold in 2021 for the back taxes and cleanup costs.”

Attorney Joe Couvreur represents the SNRI and the SNHC.

Couvreur clarified that the city of Southfield did not pay for the cleanup — funds raised by the SNHC were used to fund the cleanup. “This property, like other properties acquired by the Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, was acquired by the county after the owners failed to pay their taxes. When the nonprofit (SNRI) obtained possession of this property, it investigated its condition and did everything necessary to remediate all the debris on the property.”

To view the press release, visit

For more information on the SNHC, visit