Environmental nonprofit sues Warren Buffett subsidiary over NC project

Mungo Homes, a homebuilder that can trace its parentage straight up to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is allegedly causing a humongous issue to the environment in North Carolina.

Nonprofit Sound Rivers filed a lawsuit against Mungo last week, accusing the company of violating environmental regulations in its Durham development, the Triangle Business Journal reported. Mungo is technically a subsidiary of Clayton Homes, listed as a defendant in the lawsuit; Clayton’s parent company is Berkshire Hathaway.

Sound Rivers, tasked with protecting the region’s Neuse and Tar-Pamlico river basins, is accusing Mungo of violating the Clean Water Act by polluting the Martin Branch and Lick Creek with “harmful sediment,” adding the effects stretch out to one of Raleigh’s sources of drinking water.

The nonprofit said it documented more than 16 instances of violations, grabbing water samples taken next to and downstream from the Lick Creek construction site. Sound Rivers said Mungo regularly dumped sediment at “concentrations 20 times over permit limits.”

The nonprofit said it informed Mungo of the alleged violations and its plan to file a lawsuit unless Mungo put an end to its accused actions. Evidently, Sound Rivers decided Mungo’s conduct was enough to warrant a lawsuit.

Mungo and Clayton both did not respond to the publication’s requests for comment. Sound Rivers is seeking for Mungo to be penalized the maximum $64,000 per day, per violation, according to NC Newsline, as well as for the court to stop Mungo from further violations and to have the homebuilder remove any sediment in waters it contributed.

Located east of Durham, Mungo’s Sweetbrier development spans 216 acres and could include as many as 616 homes. That’s a long way off, as the site has only been cleared to make way for the homes. Clayton purchased the site in 2020 for $6.5 million.

Mungo’s other projects around the Triangle Region include an 1,850-unit development recently approved in Southeast Raleigh and a 148-townhome development in Knightdale.

Holden Walter-Warner

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