News surfaced last week of trouble at the Consumer Financial Protect Bureau, but the issues had nothing to do with President Trump or federal court decisions. Instead, reports indicated that the lavish new CFPB headquarters is infested with literal rodents.
Employees are reporting that ever since they moved into their newly-renovated building across the street from the White House, a rat infestation has been evident. There are reportedly rat traps on every level of the six-story building.
“Right from the start there were reports of rats in the building,” one employee said in an interview. “There were rat sightings. One person had a rat in her trash can, and they couldn’t get it out. Rat feces were on the floor and on people’s desks. Rats are running across people’s feet when they’re sitting there trying to work,” he said.
A CFPB spokesman confirmed rats do indeed run throughout parts of the building. “The bureau identified an issue with rodents appearing in some areas of the building, due in part to the ongoing construction in the basement and ground level areas,” he said in a statement.
The agency set about renovating an older office building in 2014 under former director Richard Cordray. The cost of the renovation was originally estimated at $55 million, but the bureau eventually increased that estimate to $215 million. Later that year, the Federal Reserve, which oversaw the renovation, balked at that price tag and claimed there was no “sound basis” for the figure. A series of change orders and modifications submitted by the general contractor again added to the cost, bringing the final tab to $124 million.
The new building has many expensive amenities. The roof has lounge seats and motorized, cantilevered adjustable umbrellas for those taking in the building’s excellent view of the Washington skyline. The CFPB spent $88,000 for bike racks and parking striping in the garage. Inside, employees can make use of 29 small conference rooms and 24 large ones, some outfitted with $715,000 height-adjustable tables. When not working, employees can take advantage of a 2,660-square-foot athletic facility and 1,300 square foot locker rooms equipped with showers.
Overall, the $124 million price tag for the 303,000 square foot office building is $409 per square foot, which is significantly more than Trump World Tower in New York. No estimates have been made available on the cost of extermination and clean-up from the rat infestation.