Free Peter: Fenwick rallies support for recycler
At the Downtown Mall’s Free Speech Monument today, former City Council candidate Bob Fenwick led a small rally in support of recycler Peter Van der Linde, calling the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s $20 million RICO lawsuit against him an “atrocity.”
About a dozen people holding signs that said “Free Peter” and “Stop the Waste” stood behind Fenwick as he addressed about a half-dozen members of the local media and few spectators curious about all the fuss over Van der Linde.
“They have branded this man a federal criminal in front of the entire community by using a legal device tailored to combat organized crime,” said Fenwick. “This is a mean-spirited attempt by two governments, who are spending our money to do this, to ruin a man and his business.”
“It seems pretty wrong to me,” said Charlottesville resident Richard Stanley of the RSWA lawsuit. “We should be jumping on the Van der Linde bandwagon.”
Van der Linde opened an $11 million Materials Recovery Facility in Zion Crossroads last year, which now accepts household trash for recycling. The RSWA has accused Van der Linde, who also owns a dumpster rental business, of defrauding the Authority out of approximately $1 million in fees before he opened his own disposal facility.
Fenwick called on the community to support a man who is “building a truly green business” and “creating jobs and helping our community improve the quality of life in the area” with his new facility. He also said there would soon be a new website dedicated to supporting Van der Linde called www.freevanderlinde.com.
“We demand that this lawsuit be dropped today,” said Fenwick.
Van der Linde, who had planned on attending the rally, was busy being deposed this week by RSWA lawyers from McGuire/Woods, who have already billed the tax-payer supported Authority over $340,000 for their services, with the trial date scheduled for June 2010.
“By the time this lawsuit is done, they’ll have spent a million dollars,” said speaker Betty Mooney. “We as a community can stop this. It is so wrong. I’ve been here 40 years, and I’ve never seen something so bad that our government has taken on. Communities would die to have a facility like Peter’s, and we have it right here.”
Tomorrow, the RSWA has scheduled a special meeting to discuss their plan to privatize the Ivy Transfer station. Fenwick and Mooney encouraged people to attend the meeting, which will be held at 4pm at the Albemarle County Service Authority Administrative offices on Spotnap Road.
–Story last updated 6:24am, added "million" to lawsuit and price of Van der Linde's facility.