Ira Rennert, who is being sued by trustees who claim he looted his company Magnesium Corp and ignored environmental complaints, said the issue of hazardous substances was above his head.
“It is way above my head, ” said Mr. Rennert, “I have no idea what you are talking about, ” Rennert said, according to Crains, about the toxic materials leaking out into the ground. In addition to its status with the EPA as one of Utah’s biggest polluters, something else stinks in the way it allegedly treated the government and trustees.
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Ira Rennert, who, through his other company Renco, is accused of taking $118 million in dividends from Magnesium Corp in the 1990s, when it would soon file for bankruptcy. Rennert claims it was an economic downturn that caused the business to become insolvent. A trustee for the company’s creditor is asking for $700 million, including interest, because of the money deprived of the creditors.
Rennert’s attorney, Tai Hyun Park, said the fact that his client used a portion of the dividend money for a home in the Hamptons, one of the most expensive private properties in the U.S., should be an issue in the case. “You are not a jury that is going to be sidetracked by pictures of a big house, ” Park said. What’s ironic about the statement is that praeteritio, the Ciceronian rhetorical device that involves the speaker mentioning something he says he is not going to mention, tends to emphasize that thing he tells the listeners to ignore.
After allegedly trying to sweep a major environmental problem under the rug, it looks like Rennert will also have to pay fines the the federal government.