Dispute over ownership of Black Mountain Recycling turns violent

A man was issued a summons Tuesday on suspicion he assaulted another man who was serving civil papers at Black Mountain Recycling Inc. near De Beque, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

Jefferson Lee Been, 24, was ticketed on suspicion of obstruction of a telephone and third-degree assault following a verbal confrontation that turned physical at Black Mountain Recycling, 15655 45 1/2 Road, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Deputies were called around 12:15 p.m. to investigate what started as a verbal dispute over receivership of the business, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin.

Information from parties involved indicated John Watts, 64, recently was awarded receivership of Black Mountain through the courts, Benjamin said.

Been has been accused of assaulting Watts when Watts showed up at the solid-waste disposal facility Tuesday to serve civil papers. Watts allegedly pulled a handgun, but deputies concluded he was protecting himself, Benjamin said.

It wasn’t clear late Tuesday if Been was the same person who reopened the controversial Black Mountain operation last fall.

The owner of Black Mountain Recycling, Jefferson Been, told The Daily Sentinel in a story published Oct. 1, 2010, he was again receiving wastewater from the oil and gas industry, two years after the facility was closed for failing to report and clean a 2001 spill while accepting more waste than its permits allowed.

Mesa County Commissioners in August 2010 agreed to allow the facility to reopen, provided Been and his wife, Brenda, deposit $28,370 in a state-held trust fund toward cleaning the site if Black Mountain could not.

“Really, I see no reason why there should be any problems that arise,” Been was quoted saying in the 2010 story.

While reopening, the facility was in violation of a state solid-waste compliance order because at the time it had not fully documented the extent of contamination from the 2001 spill, which happened under ownership prior to Been. The state of Colorado filed a civil lawsuit against Black Mountain.

Colorado Secretary of State business records indicate Black Mountain Recycling Inc. is delinquent in standing for not filing required periodic reports in November 2010 or February 2011.

Attempts to reach Been for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.


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