News Item:
Court office building is a shambles

Water leaks through the roof, half of the building can’t be used, one area looks like a lab experiment for growing mold.  On a lower floor the holes in the wall are large enough to see through into the adjacent space.  Concrete, corrugated metal, and tiles fall from the ceiling.  Individuals routinely climb the stairs, the broken elevators smell like urine.  The basement area, used for storage, is littered with trash.  Called the ‘dungeon’, it’s infested with rats.  On an exterior wall, bricks are separating from the structure, and in summer the flea eggs begin to hatch.

Iraq?  Bangladesh?  Ethiopia? Darfur?
Nope, none of the above, but here’s a clue.  If you’re on probation in Camden County, you have to make visits to this place.  Legal matters concerning juveniles are handled here.  If you have a question about child support, don’t breathe too deeply when you enter the building.  A couple of years ago a worker there contracted Legionnaires disease.  It’s the Parkade Building in Camden, home to the county’s administrative offices, and those rats.  Did we mention all the rats?

The county leases the building from a private enterprise, and has been battling the owner for years to make repairs.  Due to a convoluted agreement filled with real estate legalese, the state court system is the tenant, and county government the landlord.  Normally the tenant has the right to demand repairs from the landlord, which the state courts have done.  The county, in turn, filed suit against the property owner, because moving the offices for 250 some employees would be a major undertaking.  Rather than hearing the case though, the Superior Court ruled that the county should drop the suit, and find another building.  So the court demanded repairs, the county sued for repairs, then the court said ‘you can’t do that’.

Got it?  No?  You don’t understand?  Read it again, and I bet you still won’t…

Full Story: Philly.com

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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