BOE Headquarters Building Assessment

Public Affairs Office
1-916-327-8988

BOE in the Media

Troubled California state building makes investment – in scaffolding – Crews will start work Friday at the vexed Board of Equalization headquarters, but it won't be to fix the crumbling waste-water plumbing or to replace faulty exterior glass panels that were among the long list of tower defects chronicled by The Sacramento Bee on Sunday. Instead, the three-day project that kicks off at the end of the work week will replace the rented scaffolding erected two years ago with scaffolding that the state is purchasing. Officials ordered the pipes and plywood installed on the 24-story tower's sidewalk and its parking structure's top level after an exterior glass panel popped off the building's 8th floor and nearly struck a pedestrian in 2012. According to a BOE memo sent to employees last week, the scaffolding has to be replaced "due to the expiration of the contract with the previous fencing vendor." Renting the scaffolding cost the state about $10,000 per month, Department of General Services spokesman Brian Ferguson said. The state is paying $100,609 for the new scaffolding. Some other documents that informed the Sunday story: The final report on the Jan. 11, 2012 exterior glass incident. A time line and explanation of why the Board of Equalization moved from 1040 N. St. into the Capitol Square Building at 450 N St. A 1990 letter from consultant Equitable Real Estate Investment Management Inc., explaining why the deal is a sound pension-fund investment. CalPERS' 1990 feasibility study that references changes to the tower, including additional floors and other design changes.
Jon Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 07/21/2014

Threat of litigation looms over faulty Board of Equalization tower – A Sacramento attorney filed a $50 million tort claim this month, a first step toward suing the Board of Equalization on behalf of employees who say their bosses downplayed the high-rise tower’s ailments and put workers’ health at risk.
Jon Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 07/20/2014
Jon Ortiz, Fresno Bee, 07/20/2014
Jon Ortiz, Merced Sun-Star, 07/20/2014

State office building racks up millions in repairs – Board of Equalization officials say the constant problems damage morale and undermine productivity. “It's like someone running though the room screaming,” said Liz Houser, the deputy director of administration tasked with handling building problems.
Fenit Nirappil, Associated Press, 07/06/2014

New $50 million claim hits BOE over mold-related illness – A new claim has been brought against the California Board of Equalization on behalf of employees who say they’ve had skin rashes, respiratory problems and other illness related to mold at the BOE headquarters. The claim, filed Wednesday with the state of California, is the newest development in a saga concerning costly structural issues plaguing the building at 450 N St.
Allen Young, Sacramento Business Journal 07/03/2014

State building defects will take years to repair, officials say – Massive defects so riddle a state office tower in downtown Sacramento that it will take five years before they're fixed, according to a new government estimate. The paperwork for rehabilitating the Board of Equalization's headquarters will take two years to complete, the agency said last week. Then tack on three years to get the work done.
Jon Ortiz, Sacramento Bee 06/30/2014

More problems at BOE headquarters – Video and lab tests show that corrosion damage had spread throughout the wastewater system in the California Board of Equalization headquarters in downtown Sacramento, BOE board members learned Friday.
Sacramento Business Journal 06/27/2014

Board of Equalization tries again to get out of moldy building – Jerome E. Horton is the Chairman of the State Board of Equalization. He says 1,900 people work in the building on N Street and have endured one problem after another. “This is the only building in the state of California that has permanent scaffolds all around the building just because at any given time, a window can fall out, plaster can fall off. We spent $28 million just dealing with the mold remediation.”
Timeline: California State Board of Equalization Headquarters
Bob Moffitt, Capitol Public Radio (Sacramento) 06/11/2014

State workers want new structure to replace BOE building – Safety problems within state building continue. The clamor for a new state Board of Equalization building is growing as safety problems within the structure continue – the building is infamous for the scaffolding outside which is meant to protect people from falling windows.
Sharokina Shams, KCRA-TV (NBC, Sacramento) 6/11/2014 | KCRA-TV Video 06/11/2014 click to watch KCRA-TV Video 06/11/2014

Troubled Board of Equalization building faces more problems – There's another problem at the Board of Equalization's troubled downtown headquarters. A fire system pump that has stopped working. It's supposed to direct water up and down the tower's 24 stories, but is in need of repairs that could take more than a week to complete.
KFBK News Radio 93.1FM and 1530AM (Sacramento) 06/11/2014

Faulty water pump triggers ‘fire watch’ at state tower – They walk. They watch. They sniff. A faulty fire system pump at the Board of Equalization’s beleaguered headquarters in downtown Sacramento prompted the state fire marshal last week to put the 24-story tower under “fire watch.”
Jon Ortiz, Fresno Bee 06/11/2014

Taxman trying to get out of its money pit, Board of Equalization seeks new headquarters campus – Legislation to relocate the California State Board of Equalization from its headquarters building at 450 N Street in Sacramento has passed off the Assembly floor with bipartisan support, the BOE says. The bill provides the necessary authorization to relocate and consolidate Sacramento-area staff to one campus. "The taxpayers of California are on the hook financially for a building in need of constant mitigation," says BOE Chairman Jerome Horton of the current high rise. "This is one of the only high-rise buildings in America with permanent scaffolding surrounding it to protect employees and the pedestrian public." The BOE says it has already spent roughly $60 million taxpayer dollars on building repairs and remediation. Total costs related to repairs and relocation during construction are estimated at approximately $115 million, which does not include lost employee productivity. "Let’s end this craziness and get out of this money pit," says BOE Board Member George Runner.
Central Valley Business Times 06/06/2014

Proposed purchase of new BOE building site moves to Senate – A proposal to replace the troubled headquarters of the California Board of Equalization with a new building somewhere in the capital region unanimously cleared the state Assembly on Thursday. The state of California already has spent $60 million in repairs on the lemon at 450 N St., and could spend up to $159 million over the next few years, according to revised numbers from Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, author of Assembly Bill 1656.
Sacramento Business Journal 05/29/2014

California Assembly OKs bill to explore state office tower options – The Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a measure that would nudge the state toward leaving its problem-plagued Board of Equalization building. The bill by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, would authorize the Department of General Services to spend up to $3 million to pick a site and develop agreements for a new building. The facility would house 2,200 employees now working in the board’s N Street headquarters, plus about that many more in satellite offices around the area.Assembly Bill 1656 now goes to the Senate.
Sacramento Bee 05/29/2014

Lawmakers approve bill to move Board of Equalization workers from crumbling office building – Lawmakers are authorizing the state to move the headquarters of the California Board of Equalization out of a Sacramento office tower that has been plagued with problems. Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento says window glass has fallen from the building, its elevators plummet for no reason, and water often pours into work spaces.
KCRA-TV (NBC, Sacramento) 05/29/2014

BOE Chairman calls for audit of BOE’s building repair costs – The Board of Equalization will consider sponsorship of legislation by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, during its monthly meeting on March 25. Assembly Bill 1656 states legislative intent to authorize the Department of General Services, with the BOE’s consent, to enter into agreements for planning, constructing, and acquiring facilities to consolidate and relocate.
Central Valley Business Times 03/12/2014

State Auditor to review options for California tax agency headquarters – A legislative audit committee on Wednesday commissioned an audit of the Board of Equalization headquarters that will consider a range of options for the troubled building and the 2,000 or so employee who work there. State Auditor Elaine Howle said her office can start on it “right away” and finish the work in about five months.
Sacramento Bee 03/12/2014

Lawmaker Lobbies to Fix Troubled Board of Equalization Building – Democratic State Assemblymember Roger Dickinson sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to request a state audit and to introduce a bill to rebuild the troubled Board of Equalization building. “All we’re doing by staying in the building with the existing workers is throwing good money after bad,” Dickinson said. The 22-year-old building has had quite a history of deterioration. Falling windows, bursting pipes, roof leaks and mold problems have plagued the building. Because of an exchange signed years ago, all maintenance responsibilities fall on the state, and not the contractor. Since its construction, taxpayers have spent more than $64 million in repairs, plus at least $1 million annually for building-related workers compensation claims. The most visual reminder of the ongoing problems is the scaffolding the surround the building. It was put up after a Jan. 2012 incident where spandrel windows fell from between the 8th and 9th floors, and crash landed on the sidewalk. No one was injured. Through his request, Dickson hopes the State Auditor realizes the state is spending too much money for repairs. Then he hopes the State will work together with private contractors to construct a new Board of Equalization headquarters.
KTXL-TV (Fox40, Sacramento) 03/04/2014 | KTXL-TV Video 03/04/2014 click to watch KTXL-TV Video 03/04/2014

Lawmaker wants speedy exodus from BOE building – Following yet another waste-water line leak, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson is pushing on two fronts to get state workers out of the troubled Downtown Sacramento high rise, although the best-case scenario for emptying out what has become a public money pit of epic proportions "would be measured in years, not months," he said. On Tuesday, the Sacramento Democrat asked a joint committee of Assembly and Senate legislators for an audit of the facility and introduced legislation that would create a plan to move BOE’s employees into a new facility.
Sacramento Bee 02/13/2014

Board of Equalization to get update on building proposals – The tax-collecting Board of Equalization has carved out time this morning for a presentation of the 25 ideas submitted for where to move the agency's 4,000-plus employees. A spreadsheet prepared in advance of BOE Deputy Director Liz Houser's presentation expands on the news first reported in a recent State Worker column, and also shows public transit options, existing property debt, ownership and links via Google Maps to each location. The board's 24-story tower at 450 N St. in Sacramento has a long history of building defects, from leaky windows and faulty elevators to toxic mold and corroded waste water pipes. It's also too small. For years, the board has wanted to get out of the facility, but its monthly lease payments are paying down bonds used to purchase the building. Those obligations won't be paid off for another eight years. The BOE HQ facility discussion should start shortly after the board convenes at 9:30 a.m.
Sacramento Bee 11/20/2013

25 ideas for Board of Equalization HQ relocation – As highlighted in today’s State Worker column, state officials have fielded more than two dozen suggestions in response to their call for ideas about where to move the Board of Equalization. The Department of General Services set a Halloween deadline for suggestions. This week, the 24 entities listed below turned over ideas, including 25 sites for relocation. The state isn’t obligated to do anything with any of this, but officials wanted to see what developers, property owners and other interested parties could think up. Respondents were asked to address issues beyond where the tax-collecting board might move, including what could be done with the current headquarters at 450 N St. and how the state could satisfy up to $100 million in bond obligations on the downtown tower.
Sacramento Bee 11/07/2013

Lawmakers discuss new building for Board of Equalization – About 2,200 work in main building at N and 5th streets. A state lawmaker wants a new Board of Equalization building built in order, he says, to make it safe for workers and the public. After years of safety hazards and smelly, messy problems at the Board of Equalization building in downtown Sacramento, a state lawmaker is hoping to start the long process of having a new building built. Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, and other lawmakers held a hearing at the state Capitol on Tuesday, when they started to weigh some complicated options: Let the BOE stay in the building and repair it, or spend many millions of dollars to build a new one.
KCRA-TV (NBC, Sacramento) 08/20/2013

Could Corrections, Caltrans move into infamous BOE tower? – So let's all agree that the Board of Equalization needs a bigger building and should move out of its current downtown Sacramento headquarters, which has been plagued by bursting windows and mold. The state owns the building, widely recognized as a multi-million-dollar money pit,and is paying down bond debt for it.
Sacramento Bee State Worker 08/20/2013

BOE Building – As we've documented, California has spent millions trying to repair the deteriorating Board of Equalization building in downtown Sacramento. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration meets today to discuss the possibility of moving BOE employees out of the dilapidated structure and consolidating them in a new building.
Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert 08/20/2013

Repairs at Board of Equalization building seem fishy – Re "$4 million in repairs afoot at Board of Equalization HQ" (The Buzz, Jan. 28): As a recently retired 29-year career facilities and construction manager at UC Davis, the article about $4 million needed to repair window systems in a 22-year-old commercial building strikes me as very strange.
Sacramento Bee 01/30/2013

Taxpayers Pay Millions In State Building Repairs – Since then, other issues have come to light with the Board of Equalization Building in Sacramento on 450 N. Street. “The pipes were corroded,” said Eric Lamoureaux, Spokesperson for the Department of General Services. “Mold was detected and removed.”
KTXL-TV (Fox, Sacramento) 01/23/2013

New problem for Board of Equalization building in Sacramento – Add another item to the long list of structural failings that have plagued the Board of Equalization headquarters: corroded pipes.
Sacramento Bee 06/22/2012

Board of Equalization cafeteria temporarily shuts down, food trucks to fill gaps – The Board of Equalization's cafeteria utilizes the Department of Rehabilitation's Business Enterprise Program, which trains the legally blind to operate food service entities.
Sacramento Bee 01/19/2012

Window Falls Out of BOE Headquarters During Board Meeting – The agenda for the State Board of Equalization's January 11 meeting in Sacramento said staff would provide an update on the problem-plagued Sacramento headquarters building, but nobody expected the report to include coverage of breaking news. A decorative glass pane that fell out of the building hours earlier, as the board was beginning its meeting, and smashed on the sidewalk more than eight stories below.
CalTaxletter 01/13/2012

Window falls 9 stories from Board of Equalization building in Sacramento – A window in the Board of Equalization (BOE) building at 4th and N Street in Sacramento broke free and fell nine stories to the sidewalk below. The State Department of General Services (DGS) owns the building. DGS spokesman Eric Lamoureux said there have been problems with the 22-year-old building in the past.
KXTV-TV (ABC, Sacramento) 01/11/2012

Glass Falls from Downtown Building – A piece of glass has fallen from at least eight stories up at a building downtown Sacramento, smashing on the
sidewalk and reminding employees of prior incidents.
KTXL-TV (Fox, Sacramento) 01/11/2012

State worker turns BOE's building miseries into art – The building's landlord, the Department of General Services, has spent millions of dollars on things like replacing leaky windows, fixing busted pipes, cleaning up toxic mold and repairing malfunctioning elevators.
Sacramento Bee 10/18/2011

Board of Equalization director: We need new headquarters – As Executive Director of the Board, I would like to share with you the BOE's Members' and management's commitment to secure a new facility for BOE employees. A new facility would allow all BOE headquarters employees to work more efficiently in one location. As you know, BOE is responsible for the administration and collection of more than 35% of state government revenues.
Sacramento Bee 10/14/2011

Headquarters problems prompt Equalization staff meetings – The Board of Equalization is in the midst of employee meetings scheduled for
today and Wednesday to talk about its leaky, mold-infested, mechanically unreliable, slightly toxic headquarters at 450 N St. in Sacramento.
Sacramento Bee 10/11/2011

Another toxic turn for Board of Equalization headquarters – Busted water pipes. Toxic mold. Leaky windows. Malfunctioning elevators. Falling glass.
Sacramento Bee 08/29/2011

Bill Would Allow State To Sell Or Lease "Sick Building" – Some state lawmakers want to sell or lease the Board of Equalization headquarters in Sacramento because of faulty construction and other problems in the building.
Capital Public Radio 01/21/2010

Moldy BOE headquarters bill passes Assembly committee – Members of the Assembly Business and Professions Committee unanimously passed AB 151 – the moldy state building bill – on a 7-0 vote after a brief hearing Monday.
Sacramento Bee 01/13/2010

State tax agency plagued by moldy building – California officials want to move state workers out of a moldy building in Sacramento.
Mercury News 01/11/2010

Government agency may move out of moldy Sacramento headquarters –After suffering through months of problems, California officials want to move state workers out of a moldy government office building in Sacramento.
News 10 01/11/2010

Leave troubled building, Board of Equalization chief urges –Fed up with years of leaks, floods, falling windows, rampant mold and now free-falling elevators at its Sacramento headquarters
Sacramento Bee 01/09/2010

On The Money: The Sinkhole? – A high-rise office building in downtown Sacramento is causing headaches for state workers and taxpayers alike. Here is out update on a structure that's siphoning off millions of dollars in repairs.
KOVR-TV Video 11/04/2009

On The Money: The Sick Building – A catalogue of problems is plaguing the Board of Equalization building at 450 N Street in Sacramento that has been under constant construction for the past four years. The latest problem: Closed public restrooms.
KOVR-TV Video 08/03/2009

State Agency Wants Troubled HQ Building Sold – Longtime Board of Equalization workers say their headquarters building has been a dog from day one. On Wednesday, the board took formal steps that could lead to the sale of the 24-story building.
KXTV Article 05/27/2009
KXTV Video 05/27/2009

Water, mold dampening Board of Equalization HQ – The trouble-plagued headquarters of California’s tax appeals board has been hit by yet another round of flooding and mold. The repair bill stands at $29 million during the past three years alone, and state employees are wondering whether the building is truly jinxed.
Capitol Weekly Article 04/02/2009

Board of Equalization HQ: Everyone's back to work – All 275 employees affected by the closure of the 8th and 9th floors of the 450 N Street Board of Equalization Headquarters Building, who are scheduled to work tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, will be back at work in alternate locations. All but 40 employees had already been called back to work. The 8th and 9th floors remain closed. Information from the building's owner, Department of General Services, is that these floors should be repaired and ready to reoccupy next week. BOE's consultant hygienist will conduct testing and analyze the test results before employees are returned to their regular work areas.
Sacramento Bee Article 04/02/2009

Unsafe Elevators Worry BOE Employees – Malfunctioning elevators are the latest problem to hit the Board of Equalization building, which previously suffered flooding.
KCRA-TV 04/02/2009

New Calamities Hit the BOE Headquarters Building – The State Board of Equalization's problem-plagued headquarters was hit by two new calamities this week. First, repairs to a "flex line" in the ninth-floor ceiling went awry, leading to massive flooding on several floors of the state-owned office at 450 N Street in Sacramento. Then, crews called in to fix the flood damage found signs of pre-existing mold in the walls.
Caltaxletter Article 03/27/2009

California agencies squabble over office mold – Although the state has spent millions to fix everything from mold to leaking windows and unreliable elevators, several floors of the BOE headquarters have remained vacant as the tax-collecting agency and its landlord argue over the quality of some repairs.
Sacramento Bee Article 03/27/2009
Sacramento Bee Video 03/27/2009

Burst water pipe, more mold discovered at Board of Equalization HQ – The State Board of Equalization said Wednesday it is planning to leave the troubled office building it has called home since 1993 after another watery and moldy weekend at its 450 N St. headquarters.
Sacramento Bee Article 03/26/2009

Water break sends 275 BOE employees home – About 275 Board of Equalization employees remain on paid administrative leave following a water break Sunday and a mold investigation at its headquarters at 450 N St. in Sacramento.
Sacramento Business Journal Article 03/26/2009

Board of Equalization Continues to Administer Tax and Fee Programs
Board of Equalization Press Release 03/25/2009

About 300 BOE Workers On Paid Leave – About 300 California state workers were on paid administrative leave Monday and Tuesday after a pipe burst at the Board of Equalization building in downtown Sacramento.
KCRA-TV 03/25/2009

Flooding hits BOE building – Part of the Board of Equalization building in downtown Sacramento was flooded on Sunday.
KCRA-TV 03/24/2009

Agency’s building mold updates on Web
Sacramento Bee Article 10/23/2007

Will agency bail out of site? – BOE official says mold woes may warrant leaving leaky high-rise.
Sacramento Bee Article 10/18/2007

Workers Accuse State Of Covering up Mold – Pending Lawsuit Claims Officials Did Not Disclose Health Hazard
KCRA-TV Report 10/04/2007
Video of KCRA-TV coverage from 10/04/2007

Mold shuts portion of a state high-rise – Board of Equalization workers say building has made them ill
Sacramento Bee Article 10/03/2007

Mold Closes Part of Sacramento High-Rise
CBS13-TV Report
Video of KCRA and KOVR coverage from 10/03/2007