Berkshire Hathaway's Benjamin Moore 'illegally buried hazardous waste': Lawsuit

Ex-Benjamin Moore attorney slams company for allegedly dumping toxic waste in 2001

A former employee has slammed Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway-owned Benjamin Moore, claiming it “illegally buried hazardous waste” in Los Angeles and later tried to cover it up, according to a recently filed lawsuit obtained by the New York Post.

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Paul Sangillo, a former attorney for Benjamin Moore, said in a New Jersey state court lawsuit that the paint and stain retailer dumped the waste in Los Angeles in 2001 as it prepared to switch ownership to Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, according to the report. Sangrillo had made the discovery in January while on a phone call with a whistleblower and the company’s outside counsel.

He is suing in connection with the circumstances behind his ouster soon after.

A spokesperson for Benjamin Moore, which is based in Montvale, N.J., told FOX Business the company "did not dump hazardous waste, and categorically denies all allegations that it acted in an illegal or improper manner."

"These allegations are false, and are inconsistent with the high ethical standards to which we adhere," the spokesperson said. "We look forward to the opportunity to respond to these allegations in the proper forum."

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, May 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

After the phone call, Sangrillo asked the outside counsel to explain his thoughts on what he’d heard in a letter that Sangrillo then forwarded to a superior, according to the Post.

But his boss was “extremely irritated and upset” about the missive – and the fact that the discovery had then been documented – and later gave Sangrillo a poor performance review, according to the report, which cites the lawsuit.

Sangrillo learned, according to the suit, Benjamin Moore officials “were not going to disclose the illegal dumping or concealment of that activity to the LARWQCB [Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board].”

The six-year veteran of the company was let go only months later, in April, according to the suit, “under the pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic.”