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2 charged over asbestos work at Kent apartments

SEATTLE (AP) -- The manager of a Kent apartment complex has been charged in federal court with failing to take proper steps to protect workers and others from asbestos during a renovation.

Stanley Xu (SHOO') is the president of the management company that oversaw Avante Apartment Homes. In 2009, water pipes at the complex froze and burst, damaging the ceilings of 43 units.

Federal prosecutors say Xu hired contractor T.J. Yoo, of The Everlasting Construction LLC, to do the repair work but didn't have the ceilings inspected for asbestos as required by law. Authorities also say Yoo knew about the asbestos, but didn't provide the day laborers he hired with respirators or take other steps to protect them as they tore down the ceilings with hammers.

State inspectors shut down the work in March 2010.

Yoo pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violating federal asbestos-handling standards last week, two days before Xu and his property management firm, Longwell Co., were charged. Xu is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

The charge carries up to five years in prison.