NY state court system sues Mount Vernon, accuses city of being a slumlord

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MOUNT VERNON -

The New York state court system has accused the city of Mount Vernon of being a slumlord.

The brewing battle involves the poor conditions of the building that houses the Mount Vernon City Court.

The air conditioning in the building has been out since September, and temperatures are said to be soaring into the upper-80s in some of the offices. There are also complaints of leaks throughout the building, which apparently got so bad a few years ago that trash cans were used to collect the rain.

The city owns the building, which also houses the police department and the jail. The state court system rents out space.

Court officials couldn't go on camera, but they tell News 12 that it's not just the air conditioning and bad roof that's causing the problems. They say it's also the mold, unreliable elevators and faulty front doors.

They say conditions are to the point that they sent jurors home early last summer, and they fear they will have to do it again this year if the air conditioning isn't fixed.

Court officials say they have been fighting with the city since 2013 to take better care of the court's facilities.

Mount Vernon city leaders are blaming each other for the ongoing problems. The City Council is accusing the mayor of not doing his job, and the mayor is blaming them.

Court officials insist they are taking matters into their own hands and are now asking the state comptroller to withhold $1.3 million from the city so they can fix the problems on their own. Court administrators apparently believe that it's a small price to pay for a working justice system in the city.

City officials say they have a company willing to fix the air conditioning, but they haven't come to terms with the City Council on creating the proper legislation to do so.

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