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Orange City firm sends PI to landfill

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

A private investigator has been asking questions at the Plymouth County landfill.

Roger Dibble, Plymouth County Landfill manager, told Solid Waste Agency board members that a man had asked to see copies of tickets from Van's Sanitation, a contractor for Le Mars.

Dibble at first refused the request, telling the man the information was between the city and the company that hauled the trash.

He later learned a competing sanitation company hired the private investigator.

That information came to light when Brad Wielenga, owner of Orange City Sanitation, called Dibble on the telephone after the PI's visit. He asked why Dibble refused to show the tickets to "his man," Dibble told the board.

Wielenga told Dibble that he hired the private investigator to obtain information about Van's loads from Le Mars to the landfill, according to Dibble.

After checking with the owners of Van's Sanitation, Dibble learned the two companies have maintained a long running feud.

It's a mess that Dibble said he doesn't want to have dumped on him.

"I don't want to get caught in the middle of a sanitation war," Dibble told the board.

He does, however, want to abide by the law. Dibble checked with an attorney to see if he correctly handled the request and learned: because the landfill is a public agency, all load tickets are public information. He later provided the information as requested.

"My background is in the private sector where everything is confidential," Dibble explained.

Scott Langel said the City of Le Mars has had similar requests in the past, but "this is the first time that a private investigator was involved." He said city employees were instructed to give copies of trash tickets to anyone who requests them.

Dibble brought the matter to the county Solid Waste Agency board because he believes the landfill should charge for copies. If a request involves several tickets, it could involve several copies being made, he said.

Board members suggested that Dibble charge what the city does for copies, but they left the cost to his discretion.

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