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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Cockroaches, Bedbugs, Mold Alleged In Central Washington Mobile Home Park Lawsuit

Washington Attorney General's office
This photo shows the condition of one of the mobile homes at the Sun & Sand Mobile Home Park in Mattawa, Washington.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has accused a mobile home park owner of a scheme to evade inspections.

Migrant farmworkers have been dealing with cockroaches, bedbugs and mold at a mobile home park in central Washington. Now, the state Attorney General has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the landlord.

State investigators said conditions at the 54-unit Sun & Sand Mobile Home Park in Mattawa, Washington, were anything but beachy.

“Plumbing that was simply not fixed, folks not have working toilets,” Ferguson noted. “Cockroaches, bedbugs biting children.”

Also faulty stoves, leaky windows and even a collapsed living room ceiling. The town of Mattawa requires inspections of rental properties -- ever since a mother and her two children died in a fire in 2009.

But Ferguson said the owner of Sun & Sand wanted to avoid those inspections so he allegedly forced his mostly Spanish-speaking tenants into sham purchase agreements for their rental units.

“These sales were really not sales, simply a scheme to evade his responsibilities under that city ordinance,” Ferguson said.

A call to the owner of the mobile home park was not immediately returned.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."