Two cousins who owned the former Sebring Industrial Plating plant in Youngstown were sentenced by an Ohio court to probation and fined for violating state and federal solid waste rules.

sebring4Brian A. Hopper Jr. and Samuel L. Hopper Jr. were sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to help pay $1 million in restitution to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Judge Anthony D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced the Hoppers on Nov. 2. Richard J. Sickelsmith was previously sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay back the U.S. and Ohio EPA on charges of committing a solid and hazardous waste violation.

In March 2021, Ohio EPA investigators searched the 0.12-acre site and found at least 38,000 pounds of hazardous waste at the former electroplating facility, some of which had been at the site since 2016. The three were all accused of not having a hazardous waste license, resulting in felony charges.

The court says that $446,000 is owed to the U.S. EPA, and $654,000 is owed to the Ohio EPA for the cost of the cleanup.

Sickelsmith owned the property and business at one time and later sold it to the Hoppers, said Martin Hume, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor. The EPA was investigating complaints regarding the business at the time Sickelsmith sold it to the Hoppers, and the violations found by the EPA were mentioned in the purchase agreement, Hume said.

Sickelsmith was sentenced in May 2022 to five years of probation and to pay restitution for the cleanup. He is required to pay $400 per month toward the restitution. The Hoppers must pay each pay at least $125 per month.