Army launches investigation into new reports of military housing issues, lawmakers want answers from other services

0

Leading senators investigating issues of fraud by privatized military housing companies want to know if the military will further investigate Balfour Beatty communities after new reports surfaced of the company ignoring reports of mold, parasites and other problems.

The Army told lawmakers at a hearing earlier this month that it was opening an investigation into the Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) in response to an April 26 report from the Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations.

READ MORE

Leading senators investigating issues of fraud by privatized military housing companies want to know if the military will further investigate Balfour Beatty communities after new reports surfaced of the company ignoring reports of mold, parasites and other problems.

The Army told lawmakers at a hearing earlier this month that it was opening an investigation into the Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) in response to an April 26 report from the Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations.

“I take very seriously any reports of substandard conditions that jeopardize the lives, health, and safety of soldiers and families,” said Rachel Jacobson, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy, and safety. ‘environment. “The day after the report was released, I wrote to Balfour Beatty stating that I had directed an immediate investigation at Fort Gordon which would be overseen by the Commanding General of Army Materiel Command.”

The army suspends performance bonuses for the BBC at Ft. Gordon in Georgia.

However, the senses. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also want to know what other services are doing. The duo wrote a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking if further investigations would take place and whether the services needed new legal authorities to improve oversight of housing companies.

The BBC has already pleaded guilty to defrauding the military. The company was ordered to pay $33.6 million in criminal fines and entered into a civil restitution settlement of $31.8 million. This fraud took place before 2019.

The Senate inquiry found that the BBC continues to fail in its obligations to report repair claims.

“The investigation found numerous examples since late 2019 of poor conditions in Balfour military housing and disregard for safety issues and environmental hazards that put military families at risk,” the report said. “These poor conditions have persisted long after Richard Taylor, one of Balfour’s two co-chairmen, made a public commitment in congressional testimony on December 5, 2019, to improve Balfour’s ability to oversee repairs and repairs. responses to conditions such as mold, prioritize the health and safety of residents and prepare homes for move-in.

However, families are the ones who feel the brunt of the problems the most.

Families are increasingly frustrated. Repeated surveys and surveys reveal that privatized housing companies are bad actors, but families are not seeing substantial positive changes in them,” said Sarah Kline, co-founder of Armed Forces Housing Advocates (AFHA). “AFHA believes that until housing contracts are renegotiated, allowing for true third-party oversight and the imposition of fines at the facility level, no real change will occur.”

Kline said the AFHA supports a public housing tool proposed by veterans of foreign wars and legislation that would support the formation of the international code board for maintenance personnel.

Lawmakers have not hinted at what new legislation they might introduce to further alleviate the problem. Congress and the DoD have already implemented a bill of tenants’ rights and promised more property inspectors.

Share.

Comments are closed.