The company New York City hired to clean up Ebola has erased some of its "certifications" from some of its web pages, after a BuzzFeed News investigation raised questions about whether it was qualified to do the cleanup.
Until recently, Bio-Recovery Corp.'s website claimed to be "EPA Licensed" and an "EPA Certified Hazardous Waste Hauler" in multiple places. BuzzFeed News' story found no evidence that the company had any active permits and revealed that Sal Pane and his crew showed up to clean up the Harlem apartment of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer with a truck bearing permits that belonged to a dead man.
Pane has a long and colorful history of telling falsehoods. In 2010, Pane was found "personally liable for engaging in fraudulent and illegal acts" for running a mortgage company that scammed customers. BuzzFeed News' examination found that he has used fake names and made false claims to inflate his credentials, gained credibility from media interviews, and accumulated a trail of people who feel he exploited them when they were vulnerable.
Bio-Recovery Corp. used to be owned by a former paramedic named Ron Gospodarski, until he died in 2013. Gospodarski's sister told BuzzFeed News that Pane duped her into selling the company name.
Contacted Friday, Pane hung up on BuzzFeed News after being asked about the changes. He has not responded to last week's investigation, but an attorney for Bio-Recovery sent a statement to CBS This Morning that alleged BuzzFeed News' story "was replete with false statements, lies and outright falsehoods."
Nevertheless, the company website, at least, has gone back on some claims about its credentials. In multiple places, under "Certifications," there is no longer the claim to EPA license or the EPA certification to haul hazardous waste.
In other places, though, the claims still appear. One page devoted to the company's credentials still states that the company is "EPA Licensed" and an "EPA Certified Hazardous Waste Hauler". "Bio Recovery Corp. has numerous Certifications and Licenses with organizations and associations such as OSHA, EPA, NYS, and DEC," the page says.
But some changes have been made to that page, too. It used to say that the company had "19 years in business," even though Bio-Recovery Corp. hadn't been founded by Ron Gospodarski until 1998. Now, it says the company has "15 years in business."