State takes action on problem building after I-Team investigation

VALLEJO, Calif. (KGO) -- That rat featured in an ABC7 I-Team report one week ago got the attention of state officials. They took quick action to fix numerous problems that had lingered in a Vallejo office building.

We found Job Coach Loretta Dawson last week waiting on the sidewalk to meet her clients at Solano County's Workforce Development Board. Her doctor ordered her not to go inside.

Loretta Dawson: "So, I have to wait for them in the parking lot and if they show up, I have to say, 'Okay, let's go to Starbucks.'"

Dan Noyes: "You can't use your own office to do your job?"

Loretta Dawson: "No."

Along with other problems in the Vallejo office, her doctor said the rats that left droppings and urine on desktops caused Loretta's lung condition to flare up. I tried to tour the building that is owned and operated by the State of California.

Dan: "So you're saying I can't look around?"

Paula McCray, Unemployment Program Manager: "That's correct."

RELATED: State office building workers ask I-Team for help with rats, other problems

Dan: "Why not? It's a public building. Our tax dollars pay for this."

Paula McCray: "It's a state-owned building."

Dan: "Right, my tax dollars and your tax dollars pay for it. I ought to be able to walk through it."

But, after that meeting and after our I-Team investigation aired last Wednesday, Loretta tells me a swarm of maintenance workers arrived.

Dan Noyes: "How quick was the action after our story aired?"

Loretta Dawson: "It was crazy fast, the very next day."

A bathroom stall door that fell and injured a woman, not repaired for six weeks-- now fixed. The rear security door that often wouldn't close-- repaired. Thermostats that are locked and can only be adjusted in Sacramento often left the office very hot-- now, portable AC units have been installed. The elevator out for a month because of an expired permit-- in service. Front lobby men's room-- now reopened. The carpets-- all cleaned.

"It took you to come in and take care of it," Dawon told Noyes. "And that's why I watch your news all the time, Channel 7 news is my favorite."

But that rat remains a mystery. An exterminator installed traps, but they're now gone and Loretta has not received word that the rat and his friends were caught.

"I can't go in because we don't know about the rat situation," said Dawson. "But at least I feel better knowing that everybody else is somewhat safer."

We asked the state agency in charge of the building, the Employment Development Department, for an interview. They declined and emailed, "Thanks for the opportunity. But we'll let the work speak for itself."

They also continue to insist that "any such issues at the property are addressed in a timely manner." That's not what the workers told us

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