28 April – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network -Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Colonel Robert M. Carpenter, District Commander, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District; and Ricky Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Criminal Investigation, Jacksonville Area Office, announced today that defendant, Richard A. Bunnell, a Miami, Florida contractor, pleaded guilty yesterday, April 26, 2005, before United States District Court Judge Paul C. Huck, in Miami, in a case involving the erection of docks, walkways, and other structures in the navigable waters without first obtaining the required permits from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), in violation of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, Title 33, United States Code, Sections 403 and 406.
Bunnell faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of one (1) year on each of the two (2) counts to which he pleaded guilty and a maximum fine of up to $100,000 per count.
According to filed pleadings and statements made in court, Bunnell was the President of Bunnell Foundation, Inc., a Miami-based company in the business of constructing piers, sea walls, docks, and other structures for both commercial properties and private residences around South Florida. In October 2001, on Indian Creek Road in Miami, and in May 2002 on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach, Bunnell constructed walkways, docks, and a heli-pad in navigable waters without the required ACOE permits, and after having been warned by Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) personnel that such a permit was required. Both locations were determined to have an endangered species of sea grass on the site and one was located within a manatee protection zone.
Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, Bunnell must file permit applications within thirty (30) days with the ACOE for the two (2) sites and six (6) additional sites ranging from Coral Gables to Key Biscayne, listed in an appendix to the plea agreement, which also were the subject of construction without required permits. The sites then must be modified as required by any permit conditions, or if a permit is denied, the unlawful structure must be removed, and the site restored to its pre-construction condition. Bunnell must bear all costs associated with bringing the structures and sites into compliance with the law.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Regulatory Division Enforcement Section of the Jacksonville District, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .