Senators demand bigger investigation of Fort Gordon housing

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 2:15 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WRDW/WAGT) - After the release of an investigation critical of the contractor for privatized family housing at Fort Gordon, Sen. Jon Ossoff is calling for a full Department of Defense investigation of problems.

With the announcement his call for action, Ossoff came to Fort Gordon on Friday.


The eight-month bipartisan investigation of Balfour Beatty Communities found the company continued to mistreat military families, even after pleading guilty to defrauding the U.S. government.

The problems with substandard housing and lack of responsiveness to complaints is something the News 12 I-TEAM has been covering for more than a decade.

The report was released by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Ossoff, who made the new call for investigations Friday along with committee Ranking Member Ron Johnson.

They sent a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requesting several new actions in response to the findings of their probe.

Last week, Rachel Jacobson, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, announced the Army is undertaking an investigation of Balfour Beatty’s performance at Fort Gordon, an audit of their property management records, and a suspension of incentive fees as a result of the committee’s findings.

Jacobson also said the Army’s general counsel initiated a legal review of possible enforcement options, including whether the Army can amend contracts with privatized housing operators.


In their letter, Ossoff and Johnson called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to initiate similar reviews by the Navy and Air Force, both of which have installations with Balfour Beatty housing.

Ossoff and Johnson are also calling on Austin to provide additional information about other legal authorities or resources the Department of Defense has to improve oversight of privatized military housing companies like Balfour Beatty.

“We are concerned that the steps summarized above are not sufficient. Balfour pled guilty to fraud against all three military service branches — the Air Force and the Navy as well as the Army. Further, the information uncovered by PSI’s inquiry and at the April 26th hearing suggests that Balfour has continued to mistreat military families and to record inaccurate and incomplete work order data in its internal Yardi system at non-Army installations,” the senators wrote.

The committee’s report also found numerous examples of falsified work orders and repair requests, and . Ossoff and Johnson asked Austin if the Department of Defense has current access to all original repair requests, and if not, what steps are needed to ensure they do.

In April, Ossoff and Johnson held a hearing revealing the mistreatment of military families in privatized housing in which service members, military spouses, and housing advocates testified, and in which Balfour executives testified under oath about the company’s actions.

The senators launched the probe after Ossoff’s two visits to Fort Gordon last year in the first few months of his tenure in the U.S. Senate, in which he met with military families and committed to undertake an investigation into their housing conditions.


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