A Senate committee found dangerous living conditions, including exposure to toxic mold and asbestos, in military housing run by private contractors still persist — even after one of the companies pleaded guilty and was fined millions for wrongdoing.
Military families testified Tuesday before a Senate investigative committee probing Balfour Beatty Communities LLC, one of the nation’s largest private military housing companies, after the panel found the contractor has engaged in ongoing “mistreatment” that “has put the health and safety of military families at risk.”
“We’re talking about lead, asbestos, mold and mildew, ceilings falling in, requests for urgent maintenance never acted on. It’s completely unacceptable,” said Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, who chaired the review.
Last year, Balfour Beatty pleaded guilty to fraud and was fined $65 million for falsifying work orders to obtain performance bonuses from the U.S. military. It was also subject ofin 2019 that brought to light evidence of potential fraud and dangerous living conditions.
“Why should we believe, Mr. Taylor, that a company that engaged in major fraud against the U.S is fixing this?” Ossoff asked Balfour Beatty executive Richard Taylor.
“Things go wrong. We don’t always get it right the first time. We’re not perfect,” Taylor said.
U.S. Army Capt. Samuel Choe traveled all the way from his post in South Korea to the U.S. Capitol to describe in painful detail the severe eczema his young daughter suffers from after living in a mold-infested home at Fort Gordon in Georgia.
“Her skin, once youthful and supple, is now reptilian in nature to where there are numerous times she will wake up in the middle of the night, hands covered in blood,” Choe told lawmakers. “How do you explain to an 8-year-old child why she should endure that?”
Choe told CBS News that “there is no resolution for my daughter, but I would like for her to have the quality of life that she deserves.”