ONLY ON 3: Judges refuse to hold court in new Columbus County Courthouse


WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Three Columbus County District Court judges say they will not hold court in the county’s newest courthouse, until they can be certain there are no air quality issues in the building.

According to an e-mail obtained by WWAY, Judge Fred Gore told County Manager Bill Clark and Columbus County Clerk of Court Jesse Hill, “I have carefully read the air quality report and in clear conscious (sic) cannot continue to expose the public or courtroom personnel to known bacteria.”

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The report he’s referring to cites levels of mold inside the building. The tests for the report were conducted in August 2015.

County Commissioner Trent Burroughs said the board had the environmental assessment conducted as soon as the issue arose six months ago. Manager Bill Clark says measures have been taken, since that test, to fix the problems.

In response to continued concerns from judges, county commissioners have called to re-test the building.

“We just wanted to act critically and to make certain, once and for all, and give assurances to everyone, in fact, that it is OK,” Burroughs said.

Clark says those new tests should be conducted this weekend.

WWAY asked an expert to look at the report. He told us while there were some elevated levels of mold and bacteria, he didn’t find anything alarming or an imminent health threat.