Athens' Legal Troubles

Athens has been involved in a significant number of legal controversies. Among other things:

Athens’ predecessor company Athens Disposal Services and Athens’ current co-owner Ron J. Arakelian, Jr. pleaded no contest to criminal charges that they plotted to eliminate competition and to rig bids for trash collection services.

For almost a decade, Athens was involved in protracted litigation with the City of Montebello over the validity of Athens’ 2008 exclusive franchise agreement with the city. According to Montebello, the contract was awarded to Athens in a 3-2 vote because Athens donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of each of the city councilmembers who voted in favor of the contract (allegedly in exchange for their votes to award Athens the deal). Montebello residents recalled the councilmembers who had voted for the agreement and voted to oust Athens, but Athens remains Montebello’s waste provider. Athens contributed over $350,000 to oppose the recall. Immediately after settling the lawsuit in 2020, Athens raised rates on Montebello residents by more than 30%.

Between 2015 and 2020, approximately fifty lawsuits were brought against Athens. Thousand Oaks’ RFP required each bidder to provide a description of every action brought against the bidder involving $100,000 or more during that period and every action brought against the bidder by a governmental entity related to waste hauling. Several of those lawsuits met the requirement, but Athens disclosed only one.

In 2019, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") alleged in a complaint that Athens violated federal labor law by engaging in worker intimidation, harassment, and retaliatory firing.

In April 2021, the NLRB issued a Decision and Order finding that Athens violated federal labor law by engaging in surveillance of its employees' union activity. The NLRB ordered Athens to cease and desist from such behavior and from otherwise "restraining or coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed them" by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

The NLRB’s 2021 decision echoed prior rulings by the NLRB against Athens in which the NLRB found that Athens engaged in "serious unfair labor practices" in two unrelated cases in September 1994.