"The question my clients have is: If they're operating illegally, why doesn't the city shut them down? We just want a level playing field," Jones said.
In the lawsuit, Atlantic argued that Dechakul's business also goes outside its permit by operating within 1,000 feet of the Patapsco River. Scrap yards are not permitted in such an environmentally protected area.
"It's a rogue operation," Jones said. "They're taking material in at all hours. They're accepting material that comes in that is stolen. They're operating within the [environmentally protected] critical area."
Atlantic Recycling, which runs the United Iron and Metal yard in southwest Baltimore near Carroll Park, filed suit against the city on May 9, accusing officials of not enforcing the law. The next day, the city sent WPN Recycling a letter to stop nonpermitted operations within a month. A motions hearing in the lawsuit is set for September.
Dechakul disputed that his land is too close to the water, and said he plans to continue to work, making money and collecting valuable trash from residents.
His company recently posted photos on its website of all the materials it accepts — including car batteries, old computer equipment and steel.
"Waste Is Gold," the website said. "We can change bad smell to be sweetest smell and money."