YOUNGSTOWN - Sentencing for the Cortland man guilty of illegally dumping brine into a storm drain has been delayed until early next year when it is expected a similar case against the company's owner will also be disposed of.
Michael Guesman of Cortland, who pleaded guilty Aug. 29 to a single count of violating the federal Clean Water Act, had been scheduled for sentencing Friday.
Guesman, who was employed by Benedict Lupo, owner of Youngstown-based D&L Energy, Hardrock Excavating and at least one other oil and gas company, was charged in March after it was determined he dumped oilfield waste into a storm drain on the company property late last year.
The waste ultimately drained into a tributary of the Mahoning River and required months of cleanup costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lupo of Poland is accused of ordering the illegal discharge. He and the company, Hardrock Excavating, are facing the same federal charge.
Guesman's attorney last week filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent to delay sentencing until after the criminal cases against Lupo and Hardrock Excavating are resolved. Guesman's plea agreement called for his cooperation the cases against his co-defendants.
No trial date has been scheduled for Lupo. The next pre-trial date is set for Dec. 10 in Cleveland. Guesman's sentencing now is set for Jan. 24 in Cleveland federal court.
Some of the bill for the cleanup was covered by D&L Energy, contributing largely to D&L's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy case also is pending in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
Last week U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kay Woods, overseeing the bankruptcy case, granted a motion allowing the debtors to file omnibus, or bundled, motions representing the sale of mineral rights on more than 5,000 parcels held by D&L Energy. As of Monday, more than a dozen of those motions had been filed, all dealing with mineral rights on Pennsylvania production wells.
The action comes after attorneys representing D&L Energy last month filed court documents asking the federal bankruptcy court judge to allow the company to sell virtually all of the company's remaining assets.