- Bob Ramelli, owner of New Orleans-based Ramelli Waste has apologized to "Trash King" Sidney Torres IV after surveillance footage showed his employees repeatedly putting waste into bins owned by Torres' company rather than collecting it, as reported by the Times-Picayune.
- Torres, owner of IV Waste, issued a cease and desist letter to the company and has since resolved the issue. Ramelli has agreed to reimburse IV Waste's customers for any increased collection costs that resulted and will interview all employees to figure out what happened.
- Ramelli is a subcontractor for Empire Janitorial Sales & Services, which has a city collection contract for the French Quarter. A representative from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office told the Times-Picayune that a city investigation will be conducted.
IV Waste had been receiving complaints from customers that their bins were full almost immediately after collection and had been working to figure out what was going on for months. After reviewing surveillance footage, Torres saw multiple instances of employees in Ramelli shirts taking bags from their bins and placing them directly into IV Waste's bins. A Ramelli supervisor's truck was also spotted driving with a collection truck while this happened.
Until further investigation by Ramelli and the city it won't be clear why the employees were doing this or whether they were directed to do so. Related incidents, where employees were mixing recyclables with waste, have been reported in Portland, ME and Portland, OR over the past year.
Torres gained a reputation in the industry after forming a collection company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, eventually taking over a large share of the local market before selling that business to IESI in 2011. He returned to the industry last summer with IV Waste and an even higher profile. The "Trash King" now has a reality show on CNBC about his separate real estate business, has made a number of public policy proposals and is said to be considering a run for mayor.