Reporting Joan Murray
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Now that attorneys plan to ask a judge to shut down part or all of the Broward County courthouse after alarming levels of mold were found, the county is determining its next move.
The attorneys are suing on behalf of more than a dozen courthouse employees.
They hired a toxicologist to perform tests on 8 areas, courtrooms, judge’s chambers and staff areas.
“There have been nothing more than band aids in maintenance instead of a system attempt to correct it,” says attorney Robert McKee.
Last Thursday, Chief Judge Victor Tobin consulted the board of health about the courthouse.
He is asking the county to test the environmental condition of the building using a neutral company.
Tobin wrote to the county saying “the users of the courthouse have little or no reliable evidence. Speculation is rampant and the issue needs to be resolved. I question whether we are going to be able to inhabit this building for the next 4 or 5 years while the new courthouse is being built.”
Tobin is doubtful there would be a viable alternative if courthouse workers had to relocate to outside space.
“When you’re dealing with 440,000 square feet it’s not so easy to just move everybody,” said Tobin. “But that doesn’t mean if portions are found to be unusable we couldn’t move divisions of the court like family or delinquency.”
But county administrators hope it won’t come to that. Administrator Bertha Henry tells CBS 4’s Joan Murray, “our study does not substantiate the problems are significant to relocate people. At the end of the day we think it can be avoided. It is not in our best interest to ignore a problem.”
The county however is in the process of contracting with an independent company to fully test the courthouse for mold and other contaminants.