Washington Co. community members complain about unfixed damage in public defender’s office


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Pictures taken by a Washington County community member show rain damage in the county’s public defender’s office. Some of the damage has been there for longer than a year, according to FOIA reports acquired by the woman.

Beth Coger, a concerned citizen and activist, said she took pictures of the building’s damage when she visited earlier in June.

“One of the first things I saw was a huge trash can on wheels that was being used to collect rain water inside the building,” Coger said. “Water was still dripping. The carpet was soggy around the hallway. The building is in disrepair.”

Coger said she sent FOIA requests about the damage and learned that some requests were submitted up to 17 months ago, but county leaders haven’t yet fixed the problems. Coger said she reached out to county attorney Brian Lester and County Judge Joseph Wood. The latter didn’t respond, but the former told her the county’s waiting on the insurance company to settle.

“I see it as disrespect…disrespect for the public defender, and disrespect for our community members coming to this building for legal services to meet with their attorneys,” Coger said.

KNWA/Fox24 reached out to Lester on Wednesday. He didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment other than to say a reporter couldn’t shoot video inside the building, “as a matter of security.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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