• Company under fire for installing benches that don't meet Disability Act requirements


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A company under investigation for illegal campaign contributions is now under fire for possibly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    The same bus benches that carried political ads in Volusia County may not comply with federal laws.

    Channel 9's Lori Brown explains why advocates for the disabled say the benches need to be moved.

    As it turns out, a company that makes big bucks selling ad space on benches isn't making any space for the disabled.

    "If you're a person that's unsteady, this curb presents a problem off the bat," said Jamison Jessup of DisabilityFairness.org.

    Jessup is frustrated that benches in Deltona and throughout Volusia County are in clear violation of the law.

    At many benches, there's no safe way for the elderly or disabled to get from the sidewalk to the bench.

    "The way we treat people with disabilities is terrible. We ignore their rights," said Jessup.

    Jessup also said the benches are too low, according to the law, which says seats are to be 17-19 inches tall.

    "Elderly (people) who have arthritis and problems sitting and squatting, those people are affected by this," he said.

    While cities must make sure benches are accessible for the disabled, they are not actually required to provide benches.

    Volusia County simply asked Waiverly Media to remove their benches in unincorporated areas, which they've done, leaving no benches at all.

    The Volusia County Council has not yet decided if it will replace the benches.

    Deltona sent Maverick Bench Media, owned by Waiverly, a certified letter giving it until Jan. 17 to bring its benches into compliance.

    So far the city has not received a response.

    The state attorney is already investigating Waiverly Media for giving ad space on the benches to political candidates who may have exceeded the legal limit.

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