TAMPA, FL — A former employee at the Westshore Hotel has filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough Circuit Court, claiming he was wrongfully dismissed for blowing the whistle on moldy and unsanitary conditions inside the hotel, according to WFLA-TV.
Tom Voorhees, the former hotel engineer who seeks lost pay, medical expenses and punitive damages for possible health issues, alleges the hotel knowingly allowed employees to work and guests to stay in mold-infested, asbestos-contaminated rooms, the story stated.
Voorhees said: "Nobody in that hotel during that whole time was protected from anything, children and families from mold and mildew, sleeping on moldy mattresses that were covered up. Some of the mattresses were thrown out, most of them are back in the rooms and guests are sleeping on them. I was definitely directly handling asbestos with no protection because I didn''t know it was there. We re-did the ceilings in a lot of bathrooms. Some of the bathrooms came crashing down from water leaks. We pick that stuff up and all the broken material, it''s all asbestos. I''m not there anymore, so maybe that''s a good thing, maybe that''s a bad thing. Out of a job is better than being dead."
According to the story, the previous owner of the hotel, who lost the rights due to a property foreclosure, failed to maintain the hotel and at least 40 of the 235 guest rooms were infested with mold.
Although UBS Real Estate Securities owns the property, the court appointed Janus Hotels and Resorts Inc. to run the hotel; Janus hired a licensed mold remediation company when it took over management of the hotel in January, the story noted.
Voorhees and other hotel maintenance workers claim the mold contamination, which they tried to remedy with a diluted bleach solutions, was so bad that it covered furniture, televisions, ceilings and mattresses, the story added.
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