Intercon Solutions, the e-scrap processor denied e-Stewards certification almost a year ago amid allegations of improper export of materials, has filed a suit against the Basel Action Network for defamation.
The complaint names both BAN and its executive director, Jim Puckett, and says the Seattle-based non-profit organization “unlawfully placed the company in a false light” when it alleged Intercon Solutions knowingly shipped hazardous waste to China. The lawsuit alleges that BAN visited the company’s Chicago Heights, Illinois facility in the summer of 2011 ostensibly to perform an audit for Intercon’s pending e-Stewards certification, but was allegedly there to collect evidence as part of an ongoing surveillance campaign.
BAN later said it had uncovered evidence that containers of hazardous materials originating from the company’s property were shipped to China and denied the company’s e-Stewards certification bid. Intercon Solutions was also subsequently delisted from the roster of R2 certified companies by R2 Solutions, although the company’s R2 certification was never revoked.
“BAN has not had a chance to review the complaint from Intercon Solutions. However we stand by our statements and are very confident in them,” said Puckett, in a statement to E-Scrap News. “It is our mission to prevent international toxic waste dumping while promoting responsible industry leaders. We will not be intimidated by blustery denials or efforts to silence the messenger. This is our job as an environmental non-profit public interest organization and we will defend our right to do it vigorously.”
“It appears that BAN was working in Illinois without registering with the Illinois Secretary of State and we are having to go through special procedure to serve BAN with the lawsuit,” says Cathy Pilkington, counsel for Intercon Solutions. “Once we get BAN served, BAN is going to have to respond to the allegations.”
The Illinois Office of the Secretary of State told E-Scrap News they had no record of the Basel Action Network registering with them.
While Intercon subsequently obtained shipping documents it said proved it was not the shipper of the materials, the suit alleges that, as a result of the incident, Intercon has “lost customers and sustained substantial financial losses.”
“Regarding the effect on Intercon Solutions’ business, there is only one word: devastating,” says Pilkington. “For the people at Intercon, the devastation is emotional and financial. Various customers have refused to do any further business with Intercon and made no bones about the reason. Employees have been told that Intercon Solutions is not an ethical company. The depth of the unfairness of the situation is difficult to describe.”
The filing, in its entirety, can be viewed here.