Rat infestation accusations arise at Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Building

Executive Director dismisses claims

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Claims were made this week that the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration building in Kissimmee is infested with rats.

The building houses supplies for Puerto Rico.

"There is no infestation of rats," said Carlos Mercader, executive director of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.

Since Hurricane Maria hit, donations for victims have been collected at the Kissimmee center.

"The office of Orlando and the people that are working in the office for the past five months, they have basically... been working on receiving donations and working with churches to ... send those donations to Puerto Ricans on the island and Puerto Rican families that are here in Florida," Mercader said.

He said those making accusations of a rat infestation have an agenda. 

"I believe it is politically motivated and it's sad that it's being done," Mercader said.

Hector Rodriguez disagrees.

He's the former community officer at PRFAA.

He was let go in January 2017 after a new administration took over.

"I have sources that contacted me and they informed me about this," Rodriguez said. "To get a building infected by rats it takes awhile, so my belief is they haven't moved anything out of this building in weeks."

The landlord and Mercader both admit a rat was found in the building in January.

They say it was just one.

Both say they have hired an exterminator to remedy the issue.

We asked to go inside the building but were denied.

"After the extermination. Actually, I talked to the exterminator, they're going to go there tomorrow. After they go there, you know, and they tell me it's safe and everything. We're going to be able to go there. I want to make sure that the exterminators go there. You know, I just flew in from Washington, D.C., and I just want to make sure that they do what they need to do and once that happens then it's going to be open," Mercader said.

He said the center has been closed since Jan. 30 because staff is in the process of moving locations.

A new location in the general area is expected to open next week.

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