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Private military housing firm defrauding, mistreating military families, Senate report says

Military Privatized Housing (U.S. Air Force/Released)
April 27, 2022

A new Senate panel found a private military housing company managing over 43,000 homes and serving more than 150,000 residents has been mistreating troops and their families.

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released on Tuesday a report entitled “Mistreatment of Military Families in Privatized Housing,” which details the questionable operations of Balfour Beatty Communities, one of the largest private military housing companies.

The subcommittee claimed to have “uncovered ongoing mistreatment of these service members and their families and mismanagement,” which includes “striking similarities to the types of conduct which Balfour admitted to in its December 2021 guilty plea for actions it took between 2013 and 2019.”

The report stated that Balfour frequently ignored residents’ concerns regarding mold and leaking roofs. The company often delayed repairs, as well, and in a number of cases, residents’ health conditions worsened due to the poor living conditions.

At Fort Gordon – one of 55 bases managed by Balfour – the investigation found that the company’s staff “frequently ignored or delayed responding to urgent requests” and that they “repeatedly failed to clean or to make basic repairs to homes.”

The probe also uncovered “numerous examples of inaccuracies and omissions in” Balfour’s internal work order tracking system.

A spokesman for Balfour said the firm was “disappointed” in the investigation’s findings, claiming that it “does not accurately reflect the company’s level of commitment to its military residents and their families or acknowledge the significant steps that have been taken to address the small number of complaints that were discussed,” CNN reported.

The representative asserted that the report included “multiple inaccuracies and mischaracterizations.”

“While we continually seek to improve, as an operator of 43,000 residences we are inevitably going to have to deal with challenges,” the spokesman said. “The company remains focused on the safety, health and wellbeing of its residents and on providing quality homes supported by prompt and effective customer service and maintenance support.”

In December, Balfour pleaded guilty to defrauding the United States by manipulating and falsifying military housing work order data in an effort to earn performance-based incentives. Balfour was ordered to pay $65.4 million in fines and restitution.  

“Instead of promptly repairing housing for U.S. service members as required, [Balfour] lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at the time. “This pervasive fraud was a consequence of [Balfour’s] broken corporate culture, which valued profit over the welfare of service members.”