Report Shows Water Damage at New Courthouse | News

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Report Shows Water Damage at New Courthouse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As the new courthouse is scheduled to open next month, some problems are causing more work. First Coast News has found a report that shows water damage is present.
We asked to get a tour of the courthouse so we could see the damage. The city did not grant that request. But, we did get pictures of the damage.

After a recent routine sprinkler test, water leaked out of a two-inch fire sprinkler line in the jury assembly room for 30 minutes.
In the report, city inspector Ron Pataky writes the leak, "... caused quite a bit of water damage ..."

Water soaked more than 3,200 square feet, reached the second and first floor, hitting a total of 15 rooms.

This report documents water damage to  "... ceiling tile, carpet, lower areas of drywall, insulation, etc ..."

Pataky wrote the detailed report on April 9, last Monday.  One day later, we asked the city for more information about the damage. We also requested on-camera interviews and a tour of the area in question at the courthouse.

David Decamp, director of communications, wrote us an e-mail that said, "So far, there is no reported damage."  and, "The carpet was wet." They declined our multiple requests for on-camera interviews and the tour.

Jacksonville Councilman Bill Bishop said, "All it does is reduce the credibility of the people answering the questions. And when that happens, how can you believe what they tell you in the future?"

Last week, we asked Bishop if he could find anything out about the damage, since the city wasn't talking.  He's also on the courthouse oversight committee.  He said, "Just like you were, I wasn't told the story."

Now Bishop and some of his city council colleagues, like Councilman Matt Schellenberg, want to know what's happening inside this building, and why the city is not updating them. 

"The courthouse has been nothing but a problem," Schellenberg said.  "I think because of the cost of the courthouse, I'm disappointed that they don't let us know there are problems with the courthouse."

Bishop said, "What it tells me is they're not paying attention to what we're asking them to do. And that's, let's just diplomatically say, it puts us at more of an adversarial position."

Leaving the councilmen with many unanswered questions, including who is going to pay for the damage, since this report mentions the sprinkler company that did the installation may be have gone bankrupt and out of business.  The report also mentions the water damage takes time and adds costs.

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