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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Former Beach Bend Park Employee Sues Park Owner, Dallas Jones, Alleges Numerous Law Violations.

Ex-employee accuses owner of wrongdoing

Beech Bend Amusement Park’s owner, according to a former park employee’s lawsuit, hired a contractor to install drains that dumped raw sewage from the park into the Barren River, allowed inexperienced employees to operate amusement park rides and subjected employees to sexual harassment. Beech Bend, through its attorney David Broderick, says the claims are unfounded.
Jason Trepanier’s suit, which was filed Wednesday in Warren Circuit Court, claims he was wrongfully fired from his job in 2012 as a maintenance employee at Beech Bend and that his termination amounted to intentional infliction of emotional distress and was done in retaliation for attempting to participate as a witness against Beech Bend owner Dallas Jones in a separate lawsuit involving sexual harassment claims.

“These are serious issues, and my client wanted to bring them to the forefront,” said Trepanier’s attorney, John Caudill of Bowling Green. “The case is going to be litigated, and the facts are going to be developed over the course of several months.”

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Jones referred all questions to Broderick, who said he was surprised by the allegations, noting that “very similar” complaints were made several years ago in a dispute between the park and Matt Baker over a road to the park that cut through Baker’s property.
“I think the suit has an awful lot of allegations in it that I think are unfounded, for sure,” Broderick said. “We don’t think it’s a meritorious suit at all.”
Broderick was surprised by Trepanier’s claims that he was terminated, saying that Jones believed that Trepanier was coming back this season to work.

Trepanier worked at Beech Bend from the spring of 2009 until June 15, 2012, according to the complaint, and performed responsibilities such as cutting grass, electrical and plumbing work, groundskeeping, inspections and bringing safety issues to Jones’ attention.
Trepanier claimed to have witnessed Jones engage in conduct that violated federal environmental and labor regulations, state laws regulating operation and maintenance of rides at the park, civil rights laws and FDA regulations pertaining to food served to the public at Beech Bend.

When he attempted to make recommendations to Jones to bring the park into compliance with federal and state regulations, Trepanier was ignored, according to the complaint.
Jones is alleged in the complaint to have hired a contractor in 2011 to install tile drains and drain leaches underground to go from customer restrooms to a point 150 to 200 feet directly upgrade from the Barren River.
“As a result, since the spring of 2011, Jones has been illegally dumping raw sewage into the Barren River without a permit or other legal authority thereby polluting a drinking water source used by thousands of people down-river from Beech Bend Park,” the lawsuit states.

Drain leaches were also installed to allow chlorinated water from the park’s wave pool to run off into land near and around Barren River, the complaint states.
According to the lawsuit, when Trepanier, contractors and other workers questioned the safety standards of installing the pipes, Jones “would regularly state, ‘I sign your paychecks … do your job or find another one.’ “
Jones also directed employees to keep food items such as Pepsi products and leftover chicken fingers from past seasons to serve in the next season before using fresh items, despite objections from employees, according to Trepanier.

Trepanier claims he was employed in a hostile work environment in which he witnessed Jones engaging in a number of forms of sexual harassment of female employees that included inappropriate sexual advances, inappropriate touching and requests for sexual favors, occasionally in exchange for continued employment or incentives such as raises.

Other allegations from Trepanier involving the wave pool include one that Jones directed him and others to sand off surfaces of the wave pool despite knowing that fiberglass debris was contaminating the water and another allegation that Trepanier and others were instructed to repaint or detail the pool surface while the pool still had water in it, knowing that paint chemicals were seeping into the pool.

Trepanier makes a number of claims involving amusement park rides at Beech Bend, stating in the lawsuit that Jones asked employees to “turn a blind eye to his regular practice of not maintaining and preserving the integrity and operation” of the rides.

Specifically, Jones allowed inexperienced and improperly trained employees to operate the rides, allowed ride operators to work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, failed to conduct a drug test on any ride operator and failed to request other certified employees to do daily checks of each roller coaster ride for defects, the lawsuit states.

Trepanier names The Rumbler as a ride where daily inspections for defects such as broken track bolts were not conducted.
Instead of inspections, Jones had employees “act as guinea pigs” to test the integrity of each ride prior to the opening of the season in March and April, asking them to sit on roller coaster rides to test whether the tracks had expanded or contracted during the offseason winter months, according to the complaint.

Trepanier said those actions violated federal and state guidelines governing operation of amusement parks that call for owners to use weighted sandbags to test for defective roller coasters instead of people.
During a job removing ceiling panels from a haunted house ride sometime in 2010-11, Trepanier suspected that the panels contained asbestos, but his request to have samples of the paneling sent to a testing facility was denied, with Jones saying that he “wouldn’t waste the time or spend the added expense” of doing so, the lawsuit states.

Trepanier also claims Jones directed him and other employees to dig holes about 30 feet wide and 30 feet long in various fields to be filled with copper, old paint cans, PVC piping and other debris, which would then be covered with soil and land to conceal the contents.
“In 2009 … Jones specifically directed (Trepanier) and other employees to dump debris, including numerous discarded paint cans which contained paint residue or were partially full of acrylic paint, some 600 feet behind the amusement park in self-made landfills which were created for the sole purpose of discarding trash and other improper contaminates,” the suit states.

Trepanier also claims to have knowledge of garbage trucks containing soda and food remnants that were drained twice a week either onto land or public water sources.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture conducts inspections of rides, and Broderick said he was not aware of any complaints or sanctions from state or federal authorities relating to the rides or labor practices at Beech Bend.

Caudill said that the allegations in the lawsuit are supported by other witnesses.
“During the discovery process it’s going to be much more than Jason’s word against Dallas Jones,” Caudill said. “Other documents will be corroborating him.”
Since losing his job at Beech Bend, Trepanier has been unable to find employment elsewhere, according to Caudill.

Editor's note: A lawsuit is just one person's story. We must all wait for the full story to be told.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I to have work at beech bend dallas jones talks to u like a dog an says if u dont like it u can leave an all the allegations are true when the people came out to talk to people that work there last year dallas jones pick the ones he wonted to send to talk to them cause dallas knew they would lie for him dallas jones has done alot of dirt in his time at beech bend an god dont like the way he lives an it is all coming back on him now an the only reason he has fix the stuff that they epa told him to do is because of the law suit hes just making his self look good i had my phone one day on my break because i had someone died in my family he said he was tired of seeing me on it an i said someone dued in my family he said back i dont care who died an told me to put it in my truck if i dont like it i can leave now look like i said god dont like evil an now look his son is in the hospital an they dont thank it will make it so my prayers do go out to the family because i know how it feels to lose a son,brother,uncle,cousin an we all thank we are suppose to go with god an not our kids first so i hope that god trys to show mr.jones that u need to live a good life cause u never know when something will happen down the rode i have alot more that i could said but i will in time

2:12 AM  

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