July 29, 2014

Elyria
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$75,000 from Aztec lawsuit still not paid out

ELYRIA — It’s been seven years since thousands of Elyria residents became part of a $21.5 million settlement involving two explosions at Aztec Catalyst, and people still haven’t cashed in on about $75,000.
That’s why the law firm of Gary, Naegele & Theado has been running advertisements seeking the whereabouts of about 60 people who haven’t gotten paid from the June 28, 2000, class-action settlement.
So far, the ads have been a success, said Robert Gary, one of the attorneys in the case.
“We’ve identified about 35 people whose payments account for about $50,000 of the $75,000,” Gary said.
“Some people didn’t realize there was a second round of payments, some didn’t realize they had money coming, some could have moved — any variety of things could have happened,” Gary said.
The advertisement containing the names will run again Saturday and Wednesday in The Chronicle.
The blasts on Aug. 27, 1993, destroyed two buildings at Aztec, located at 555 Garden St.
No one was seriously injured, but about 6,000 residents were evacuated.
Dozens were treated for eye and respiratory irritation, possibly from hydrochloric acid fumes.
Gary said the biggest thing that surprised him about the Aztec explosion case was the fact that so many people lived in close proximity to the plant.
“This plant was sitting there as a time bomb right in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” he said.
Gary said his firm will forward any unclaimed funds to the state of Ohio after the advertising campaign is over.
Even then, people on the list can still get payment, but they will not be able to collect the accrued interest, he said.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.