NEW BEDFORD — ABC Disposal is calling Mayor Jon Mitchell's bluff that he's going to terminate the City's contract with the company.

The ongoing dispute stems from ABC's request for more funds as compensation for increased recycling fees due to new, stringent recycling standards in China. The mayor has denied the request, and last week, threatened to crumple up the contract with ABC and find another company to do business with.

Citing inaction by the City in response to their request for $45,000 a month over what is included in their contract, ABC on September 4 announced it would begin rejecting recycling carts that contained non-recyclable or contaminated recyclable materials.

Mitchell cites ABC's rejection of some recycling carts as grounds for termination.

ABC's attorney, George Leontire, says the company is within it's right to reject carts with non-recyclable materials, and the mayor knows it.

"He ought to be showing leadership," said Leontire. "And rather than showing leadership, he is playing a game here. What is particularly disconcerting is that he's playing a disinformation game. And we're not going to let him get away with it. And that's the bottom line."

Leontire likened Mayor Mitchell's threats of contract termination to "Mickey Mouse" tactics. Mitchell said in a statement that it's a "shame ABC management and spokesman George Leontire are resorting to name-calling and threats" in their latest response to the City.

"The City’s goal is to protect taxpayers from efforts to extract money from them and make sure residents have a reliable, dependable recycling service. We will continue working to hold ABC management to their promises in the contract," said Mitchell in the statement.

Leontire says if the City cancels the contract, ABC will sue New Bedford for millions of dollars in damages. He also extended an opportunity for the City to sit down with ABC management to amicably end the contract.

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