TAMPA - Water leaks and wet insides have plagued FDLE's Tampa headquarters for 12 of the last 19 years. Now half a dozen employees are wearing protective masks to work.
During our interview, FDLE Special Agent in Charge Rick Ramirez conceded part of the problem is money. "We did receive some funding for the roof and now we are trying to bring integrity to the facility," said Ramirez.
The report we obtained reveals that chronic water intrusion, wet ceilings and soaked walls created a mold problem. Construction on the new roof got under way in February. It is due to be complete in October but that won't resolve the problems air quality tests turned up last month.
We asked independent state licensed mold assessor Randy Kizer to give us his take on the test results. Kizer says the air samples show high levels of mold spores in both the upper and lower floors of the atrium along with the stairwells. FDLE hired mold assessor Russell Stauffer points out the tests show safe levels in occupied office areas.
But the surface samples tell another story. Testers found high levels of one of the most toxic and destructive forms of mold growing on the wall and inside a cabinet in the biology lab. What goes on inside that lab? DNA testing.
The report came in more than three weeks ago yet there is no date set for remediation. Ramirez points out the RNC tied up almost all of their resources but now his priority is to restore integrity to this building but it won't happen over night. First, per state policy, the scope of work must go thru a bidding process.
The FDLE says only one person has reported getting sick in relation to what is going on inside the building. All employees have been told about the air quality report and been given the opportunity to ask questions.