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Military families still suffer from lack of response to mold, leaks, report alleges

Balfour Beatty previously pleaded guilty to fraud; however, it denies wrongdoing now.

WASHINGTON — One of the nation's largest privatized military housing companies put the health and safety of military families at risk, even after pleading guilty to committing fraud against the United States, according to a new bipartisan investigation unveiled on Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Balfour Beatty Communities is one of the nation's largest providers of privatized military family housing, serving more than 150,000 residents at more than 43,000 individual housing units at 55 Army, Navy and Air Force installations in 26 states across the United States, including nine locations in Hampton Roads.

A  new report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations focuses specifically on the Army's Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. 

The document alleges "ongoing mistreatment" of U.S. service members and their families and mismanagement --with numerous instances cited of mold, black mold and water damage in service members' homes that reportedly were improperly repaired or outright ignored.

Credit: U.S. Senate
Mold damage at U.S. Army housing at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

"And the results of this investigation are alarming, are disturbing, reveal injustices imposed on service members and their families," said Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Georgia).

An Army captain testified Tuesday that his daughter now suffers from a devastating skin condition because of mold in their Balfour Beatty-managed home.

"My daughter's experience is life-altering, and that it will haunt her as well as us for the rest of our lives," said Captain Samuel Choe.

Balfour Beatty Vice President Richard Taylor expressed "substantial empathy" for the captain's daughter, but said he is unaware of any recent improper practices by his company.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) asked: "Do you deny the fact that issues of mold just weren't addressed over a relatively long period?"

Taylor replied: "I do deny that, yes sir."

The company pleaded guilty in federal court last December to defrauding the armed forces by falsifying housing repair records to receive higher awards between 2013 and 2019.

The company paid $65-million in fines and restitution.