Raindrops Keep Falling on Her Head

Try as she might, Judge Victoria Sigler finds it difficult to keep on the sunny side of life in her Hialeah courthouse

As landlord, Citizens Federal is responsible for maintenance. (Though other courthouse branches are located in buildings not owned by the county, Hialeah and Coral Gables are the only privately owned sites.) Citizens Federal spokesman John Schulte says he hasn't been told about current problems with the air conditioning in the building, but adds that the bank has responded diligently to the other maintenance complaints. "This has been the rainiest season in Miami's history," Schulte points out. "Workers have been out and done some repairs, and they have to do more."

Court employees say conditions have improved since a few months ago, when the county withheld rent payments (about $8000 per month) and several subsequent roof repairs were made. But maintaining the 40-year-old edifice is an ongoing challenge. "They finally got that leak over the judge's desk fixed after three attempts," says Joshua Estevez, a court security officer. "They send exterminators out a lot, too, so we don't have too much of a problem with bugs any more." Just to be safe, a white plastic roach trap guards a corner of the narrow hallway outside the judge's chambers.

At least, observes Sigler, "They've almost got the rodent problem under control. I say they were mice. Judge [Linda Singer] Stein says they're rats. But she's a city girl.

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