Army secretary gets ‘pretty good sense’ of Fort Eisenhower housing challenges
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The secretary of the Army got a firsthand look at the privatized family housing on Fort Eisenhower that’s been the focus of an investigation by Sen. Jon Ossoff.
It’s also been the focus of an I-TEAM Investigation. For more than a decade, News 12′s Meredith Anderson has been uncovering unsafe conditions like mold, electrical and gas issues, pest problems and leaking sewage in housing that’s run by Balfour Beatty.
Some families claim they’ve suffered health issues that last long after they move out – problems like chronic fatigue, body aches and memory loss.
Christine E. Wormuth, secretary of the Army, was already in town to celebrate Fort Gordon’s name change to Fort Eisenhower, and she requested to see some of the housing on post.
Secretary Wormuth participated in a walkthrough of two Azalea Terrace family housing units with post leadership and representatives from Balfour Beatty Corp. The junior enlisted housing area was previously known as Gordon Terrace.
Just after, our Meredith Aderson asked her if she believed she got an accurate look at the homes.
“I think so. I mean, certainly the non renovated home I saw did not look staged to me, Secretary Wormuth said. “It had spots on the carpet, and it had little pushpins in the windowsills. Actually, I was told it hasn’t been lived in for a year. So I don’t think it was, you know, the best of the best. I think they told me -- on a scale of, you know, if ten is sort of the worst offline house that we have, it’s about a six. It needed work. It’s got a leak in the kitchen, as I recall. It’s got to have the tile torn up because there’s asbestos under the tile and that’s got to be abated.”
She said it gave her a pretty good sense of the challenges Fort Eisenhower has with some of the inventory that -- in her words -- is “quite old.”
When asked if she thinks these challenges can be overcome, Sec Wormuth told our I-TEAM she believes it’s going to take three things. “I think it’s going to take money. It’s going to take time, and then it’s going to take continuing to have a good partnership and rebuilding trust with Balfour Beatty. And I feel very good about where we are on rebuilding trust with Balfour Beatty.”
None of the representatives from Balfour Beatty on Friday’s walkthroughs would speak with our Meredith Anderson.
After the investigation by Ossoff, Army officials have vowed to make improvements, hold Balfour Beatty accountable and inspect the housing.
OSSOFF FOLLOW-UP INVESTIGATION:
Meanwhile, plans are in motion for some newly built housing on the post.
There will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday for Pine Tree Terrace, a project that will bring new-construction homes to service members and their families on the installation.
MORE THAN A DECADE OF I-TEAM COVERAGE:
- Ossoff returns to Fort Gordon to announce progress
- Families share stories on Fort Gordon housing problems
- Fort Gordon housing investigation could bring consequences
- Fort Gordon housing provider pleads guilty to fraud scheme
- How military families feel about housing settlement
- 10 years later, we hear from the private company that provides housing on Fort Gordon
- Mold, filth linger in Fort Gordon housing, investigators find
- U.S. Army kept in the dark about many issues, employee says
- Asking about Balfour Beatty complaints only raises more questions
- Some companies still fail to address safety issues in military housing
- Explaining the safety behind the Tenant Bill of Rights
- Housing company responds to allegations about drowning at Fort Gordon
- Mold, bugs, and safety issues put spotlight on housing provider
- GAO report shows much work to be done for private military housing
- Mold at Fort Gordon? Part 1 and Part 2
- Crews demolish housing unfit for Fort Gordon service members
- 8 years after reports of mold at homes, problems may still exist
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