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The pile of courthouse debris that led to litigation between the Humane Society of Oldham County (HSOC) and local excavator Don Hedges has been removed and ground up, according to Waste Management Director Becky Zocklein.

The pile of courthouse debris that led to litigation between the Humane Society of Oldham County (HSOC) and local excavator Don Hedges is no more, but a lawsuit that alleges Hedges illegally dumped the material still stands.

Waste Management Director Becky Zocklein confirmed recently that Hedges Excavating met the terms of an agreement with the county to dispose of the pile within a 180-day window. Fiscal court set the terms of the agreement on Sept. 20, 2022, and Hedges complied just shy of his March 15, 2023, deadline, according to Zocklein.

“He took [the debris] to this transfer station on West Highway 46 and ground it up,” Zocklein said. “He complied with what we asked him to do, which was to move the pile.”

Although Hedges met the terms of the agreement, Attorney Max Bridges said that does not nullify an active lawsuit filed by HSOC against the excavating company.

“There are still claims for damages to the property and there’s [also] a dispute about the [property] easements now,” Bridges said.

County-Judge Executive David Voegele also confirmed that the county agreement and the HSOC lawsuit are independent.

HSOC was denied a temporary injunction by Circuit Court Judge Jerry Crosby Sept. 14, 2022, that would have required Hedges Excavation to remove a large pile of courthouse construction debris on an easement in front of its new La Grange facility.

In that decision, he deemed HSOC failed to demonstrate “immediate and irreparable injury,” as a result of the dumpsite.

Crosby also entered an order requiring both parties to take discovery and enter mediation in an attempt to resolve the lawsuit.

The debris quarrel dates back to at least fall 2021, when the Kentucky Division of Waste Management issued a notice of violation to the La Grange business for dumping debris from the Oldham County Courthouse on easement owned by HSOC.

The Division of Waste Management mandated at the time that all construction debris be removed from the site and disposed of in a permitted facility. It also said the area “must be reseeded and look like it was before debris was brought in,” according to the violation document.

Hedges paid $750 in fines up to his Sept. 2022 agreement with the county. Had he failed to meet the 180 day window, he would have been slapped with more.

But Hedges’ attorney, Robert Moore, said at that meeting his client’s agreement to meet the terms of the county agreement was not an admission of guilt.

“The withdrawal of appeal and payment of uncontested fine amount are not admissions by Hedges that it committed a violation of the alleged ordinances or statutes or is it an admission of the truth of the allegations or conclusions contained in the citation,” he said.

Moore has since withdrawn as council for Hedges, who is now represented by Vanna Milligan from the Stites & Harbison law firm. A pre-trial conference for the case is scheduled for Dec. 20, 2023.