While billionaire Patriots owner Robert Kraft spent the summer throwing parties in his $43 million Hamptons mansion — gleaning insights from the great minds of Kenny Chesney and David Spade — people living within 30 miles of a paper mill he bought in 2018 were huffing a chemical cloud with base notes of rotten eggs. As one guy put it in a class action lawsuit against the plant: “We are prisoners in our smelly home[s].”
There has been a paper mill in Catawba, South Carolina since 1957, but it was bought three years ago by an LLC called New-Indy Containerboard — a partnership between a paper manufacturer and Kraft’s holding company, The Kraft Group — and transitioned from making paper to “containerboard,” a component in cardboard boxes. Amazon was a major customer. According to court documents, they ramped up production in February, pumping out eight to nine times the usual amount of “foul condensate,” including a compound called hydrogen sulfide, which smells like shit.
The neighbors did not love it. Between February and May 7, the state health department received 17,000 complaints about the smell — for context, there were about five in 2020. That number has since grown to 27,000, per the Daily Beast, and there are at least three class action lawsuits against the plant. But New-Indy has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the beneficiaries of their egg scent are trying to “drum up a false narrative to paint New-Indy as a profit-hungry business with little regard for the environment or citizens’ well-being.”
The neighbors, who report feelings of “nausea, headaches including migraines, nose or throat irritation, eye irritation, coughing, difficulty breathing, asthma ‘flare ups,’ and dizziness” probably just aren’t accustomed to such fine custom parfums. If they don’t like it, maybe Kraft birthday attendee Jon Bon Jovi can spare some of his line: “Unplugged (Jon Bon Jovi) For Her.”