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Lawsuit: EPA Official Used Racist, Homophobic Threat of Prison Rape

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An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official allegedly threatened executives at an energy company by telling them he would send them to prison to be raped by a black male prisoner named “Leroy,” the Santa Barbara News-Press reports.

The claim has emerged from a civil case brought by the EPA against a company formerly known as Greka Oil & Gas Inc., and now known as HVI Cat Canyon Inc. (HVI-CC), concerning oil spills near its tar leases in California. The company is fighting back in the case — and, in the course of its defense, exposed the State of California’s destruction of potentially exculpatory evidence, a scandal that local media have dubbed “Targate.”

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Now, the EPA is faced with accusations of racism and homophobia, the News-Press reports:

The racist and homophobic statements came to light in depositions of Andrew deVegvar, former president of Greka — now known as HVI Cat Canyon Inc. — and Rob Wise, the Environmental Protection Agency’s on-scene cleanup coordinator in a six-year-old civil action that could cost the company millions in fines.

Some of the spills date back to 2005.

Mr. deVegvar told a company attorney in a deposition that, in 2008, Mr. Wise “made comments about how he was going to put me and (Greka founder) Randeep (Grewal) in jail, and I would become intimate with Leroy,” according to a transcript. “He made comments about how — whether or not Randeep was ready to file bankruptcy and showed a certain glee in putting the company in bankruptcy and asked me to give him at least 48 hours’ notice before the filing.”

While being deposed, Mr. Wise didn’t deny trying to force the men to comply through use of racist and homophobic threats and stereotyping. Instead, he said repeatedly he didn’t recall making such statements.

“Leroy” was unavailable for comment.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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