Pinellas files lawsuit over Public Safety Complex

The Pinellas County Public Safety Complex is just four years old, but already is in need of major repairs, which is why the county is now suing the building developers for negligence and breach of contract.

The Largo building's large cracks, faded paint, water damage and plumbing issues has Sheriff Bob Gualtieri concerned.

"It's very unfortunate," the sheriff said. "This building is just four years old."

The $80-million complex is an eyesore and Sheriff Gualtieri says the county is not to blame.

"Since we moved in here four years ago we've had a number of problems," he continued. "And the original contractor just didn't do it right."

That's why the county is now suing four businesses, including the building's contractor and developer. In the lawsuit, the county alleges negligence and breach of contract against the four parties involved in the construction.

"We're experiencing some plumbing problems inside," Gualtieri said. "And there's a couple bathrooms that are closed. We've got leaks and we've got cracks and we've got water damage inside. During the hurricane last year, we literally had buckets to collect water from the leaks that were occurring."

During Hurricane Irma, the complex helped house the area's emergency personnel and first responders. In the lawsuit, the county says the four parties breached their contract when water leaked into the building, stating the building contractors and developers failed to uphold their end of the bargain to design a building that could sustain a Category 5 hurricane.

"The best-case scenario is fix the thing," Gualtieri said. "Get all the leaks fixed. Get all the cracks fixed. Get all the structural problems fixed. And let's get this thing painted so it's not an eyesore."

FOX 13 News reached out to the four companies named in the lawsuit. Late Thursday, Harvard Jolly, Inc. -- one of the companies -- responded to the lawsuit in a statement.

“We are confident that as the facts unfold in this case, it will be clear that there were no problems with Harvard Jolly’s design of the building," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "Quite simply, the issues with the building were not related to our work. Our design documents were fully code compliant and designed in accordance with all professional and industry standards. That said, Harvard Jolly will continue to work alongside Pinellas County to help understand and resolve the concerns; seeking a satisfactory outcome for the County is our highest priority."

FOX 13 News made attempts to get in contact with the other three defendants but we are still waiting to hear back.