Cavorting with Polluters and Pyramid Schemers - Part I

Who is George Sella?

And where is George Sella?

Apparently, Mick Mulvaney wants to pretend that he doesn’t know the answer to either question.  In his own campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Mulvaney lists donations from George J. Sella, Jr. and his wife, Janet, totaling $9,600.  That’s a lot of money from individual donors.  But Mulvaney lists the Sellas’ occupation as “unknown” and their address as “Unknown, South Carolina,” “None, South Carolina,” and “Need Address, South Carolina.”  Really?  “Unknown, South Carolina”?  Is that the address listed at the upper left corner of the Sellas’ personal checks?  (Note: The FEC doesn’t allow corporate or company checks).  Is “Need Address” in the Fifth Congressional District, maybe near Edenmoor?  Surely Mick sent the Sellas a thank you letter, but to where?  I bet he sent it to P.O. Box 397, Newton, New Jersey 07860.  That’s the Sellas’ address that is listed on a bunch of other New Jersey Republican candidates’ filings with the FEC.  Mick, all you had to do was search the FEC website to find the Sellas’ address.  UNLESS, maybe, you kinda sorta don’t want people to know who Mr. Sella is or that you are the only candidate outside of New Jersey to get money from him.

Why wouldn’t Mulvaney want people to know who Sella is?  From the late 1970s til the mid 1990s, the former Princeton football player was president and CEO of American Cyanamid, the multi-billion dollar chemical company. has this to say about American Cyanamid, with Sella and his ilk at the helm a few decades ago:

When workers at the Bound Brook, New Jersey, plant charged in 1978 that employee health was being compromised by exposure to carcinogens, they found management unsympathetic. 1,300 workers decided to strike in order to protest health hazards at the plant only to be told by plant manager Eldon Knape that "we don't run a health spa." When the company decided that exposure to lead compounds at the Willow Island, Virginia, pigments plant might cause birth defects, women of child-bearing age in the plant were ordered to quit, accept demotion, or be sterilized. A large amount of adverse publicity resulted from this last incident after five women admitted they had themselves sterilized in order to keep their jobs. 

Sterilization?!?  Charming.  Keeping good company, there, Mick!

By the way, the Bound Brook plant in Bridgewater, New Jersey, later had to be declared an EPA Superfund Site because it posed “a significant risk” to public health, welfare, and the environment, and was classified a “High Priority Violator” under the Clean Air Act, according to the EPA’s website.  In 1988, Sella’s American Cyanamid was forced to pay $84 million to clean up the site, an EPA record at the time, according to the Encyclopedia of White Collar and Corporate Crime (yes, there is such a thing).  Also, according to that same Encyclopedia: “In 1991, the New York Times noted that American Cyanamid’s toxic releases per $1,000 in revenues remained quadruple that of other chemical manufacturers.”  Looks like George Sella didn’t learn his lesson!

But, wait, there’s more.  After the EPA cracked down on the disposal of mercury here in the U.S., our new favorite Encyclopedia has more to say about Sella’s not-so-benevolent reign at American Cyanamid:
Cyanamid’s handling of wastes remained dubious into the 1990s, when protesters rallied to prevent the company from sending 5,000 to 9,000 pounds of mercury wastes to a recycling plant in South Africa with a record of toxic leaks.  The South African government responded by barring foreign toxic wastes from entering the country.  Cyanamid already had a poor reputation there due to its firing, over pension disputes of 200 workers at a South African plant.  George J. Sella, then chief executive officer of Cyanamid, defended past mercury shipments to shareholders in April 1990, disputing widespread mercury poisoning in the Natal region around the recycling plant: “I am absolutely satisfied that there is no contamination possible from the activities that we are involved in.”

Anybody out there wanna guess how hard it must have been in 1990 to piss off the South African government over public health and human rights abuses?

Wonder where Sella sent all of that mercury after 1990?  Hopefully not to his sod farm in Union County, North Carolina, ...just upstream from South Carolina. . . . (and for which Mick Mulvaney is listed as the Registered Agent with the Secretary of State's office). 

It should be obvious by now why George J. Sella, Jr. would support a “keep government out of the way of business” guy like Mick Mulvaney.  Imagine what Sella’s company could have accomplished if that mean old Environmental Protection Agency had stayed out of his way!  Imagine what a guy like Mulvaney could do for guys like Sella in Congress.

Another peculiar thing about Sella; in January 2010, Sella sent $20,000 to the South Carolina Republican Party, then asked that the money be refunded to him.  Maybe because he found out that the SCGOP has to report the contribution to the FEC, whereas more shady third-party political organizations do not.

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