A man hired to help clean up mold at a Ventura County hospital pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to threatening to publicize the mold problem if he was not paid $500,000.
Andrew Burroughs, 30, faces two years in prison for sending a threatening e-mail in 2005 to the parent company of St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard.
The 265-bed hospital had struggled with mold because of a construction problem that allowed water into the walls, and Burroughs' work was part of a number of efforts to clean up the mold over six years. In 2007, St. John's was closed for 10 days and underwent a $24-million fumigation.
Suanne Buggy, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said her agency is not aware of any mold problems at the hospital since last year.
A call seeking comment from the hospital was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.
Kim Savo, Burroughs' attorney, said the case involved a disgruntled employee and should not have been brought to federal court.
Burroughs is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3.