Residents who were forced to evacuate their homes after an accidental gas release in the Orleans County village of Holley in 2002 are disappointed with their settlement checks.
The Diaz chemical company settled for $256,000 after a decade-long legal battle.
After more than eleven years of waiting and worrying,
"$1,105.21," says Ellen Germeo, Holley resident.
Germeo of Holley says it hardly seems enough.
"It just doesn't seem right," said Germeo.
Ellen and her sister Jerry live three houses away from the now demolished Diaz Chemical Plant. Through their trees, a constant reminder.
"I've had trouble breathing for a long time," said Germeo.
Having waited out years of legal wrangling, Germeo and her sister both received their settlement letters Friday. They never imagined they'd be millionaires, she says, but the actual amount, came as a shock.
"We didn't get the kind of money we think they deserved because the companies went bankrupt," said attorney Alan Knauf.
A large quantity of that chemical exploded through a vent at the plant and created an aerosol that settled over the village of Holley on January 5th, 2002.
"It left small brown droplets all over," said Daniel Schiavone, former village Mayor.
Schiavone ran for office shortly after. While Diaz was at fault, Schiavone says 50 jobs were lost in this small community when the plant shutdown the year after the accident.
"Some people thought Diaz was wrong, but another faction thought maybe Diaz should be forgiven and jobs should be preserved at any cost," said Schiavone.
The plant was demolished in 2007 but it's still an eye-sore in the village and a sore spot for residents who live nearby.
"The EPA came into Holley. They're still there today cleaning up the facility and the site left behind by Diaz chemical," said Schiavone.
"It's not hardly enough. Ten times that would hardly be enough for all the agony we've been through," said Jenny Baron, Holley resident.
Some residents received as much as $2,500 or as little as $600. The residents still have to wait three months to see if Medicare will get a percentage of their settlement and the attorneys will receive a third.