X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

CONCORD, CA-A Concord construction company has been ordered to pay an unprecedented $1 million for violating the federal Endangered Species Act, after its owner admitted that he drained two ponds where the California red-legged frog, a threatened species, had set up active breeding grounds.

The sentence, which also calls for probation and a public apology, is the result of a plea bargain between federal prosecutors and West Coast Homebuilders owner Albert Seeno Jr., who pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland Wednesday to two misdemeanor counts of violating the species conservation law.

The violation occurred at the San Marco project, a $1 billion suburban housing project in Bay Point, south of state Highway 4. Seeno admitted that during the construction of the residential project last spring he was aware that the federally protected frogs were thriving in the ponds and ordered them filled anyway.

In the apology, which will be published when prosecutors agree on the font size, Seeno takes full responsibility for the decision to drain the ponds, writing that it was “wrong and caused the destruction of these valuable frogs and their habitat.”It is my hope that this substantial penalty along with my apology will send a strong message deterring others who may be tempted to engage in this same conduct.”

The $1 million penalty consists of a $300,000 fine; a $300,000 civil penalty payable to Contra Costa County; and $300,000 in restitution, which will go to the Save Mount Diablo Foundation, a nonprofit group that purchases land to protect endangered species in Contra Costa County.

Also included are $75,000 in restitution to the California Department of Fish and Game Preservation Fund and $25,000 to the Alameda County Hazardous Materials Program.

The monetary sanction is believed to be an unprecedented penalty for a violation of the species conservation law, but for some, the real victory is found in another portion of the sentence. Under the terms of the deal, Seeno is forced to turn his personal ranch, a square-mile piece of land located in the unincorporated area of Contra Costa County known as the Morgan Territory, into a permanent conservation area.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 3 free articles* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.