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Lawsuit claims poor conditions at Del Rio bases sickened military families

Several families residing on Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph and Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio have filed a lawsuit in federal court. The suit alleges that there were a number of issues within the homes that the families lived in at both installations – including mold exposure – made them sick.

The lawsuit states that a Hunt Military Communities, a private contractor “under-maintained the houses located on Randolph and Laughlin, subjecting our service-members and their families to atrocious conditions, including pervasive mold and other airborne toxins. Service-members have seen mold grow on their children’s toothpaste and their children’s toys, take over walls, and blacken the interior of HVAC duct-work.”

The lawsuit also states that Hunt frequently misdiagnosed issues found in the housing units, utilized “substandard” workers to repair them, and “would mislead its tenants about the remediation actions allegedly undertaken.” Most notably, the lawsuit contends that Hunt’s representatives would just paint over the existing mold and claim that the issues were solved.

The lawsuit states, “Many service-members and their families have become ill as a result of mold exposure, have lost nearly all their personal possessions, and have paid their full base housing allowance for substandard houses.”

Hunt is accused of taking part in deceptive trade practices and breach of contract, as well as negligence and fraud. A Hunt spokeswoman said in an email that the lawsuit did not have any merit and promised that Hunt would offer a vigorous defense.

San Antonio Air Education and Training Command officials, which trains pilots on both bases, referred inquiries about the suit to Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, the JBSA commander. She issued a statement, which said, “housing is my top priority.”

“Safe and healthy living environments for all residents on JBSA should be a given, not an option”, Brig. Gen Lenderman said. She also promised to “ensure all JBSA privatized military housing project owners are fulfilling their responsibilities”. She also noted that residents can contacted her by email to share their concerns and comments using the subject line, “Feedback Fridays.”

The issues that were highlighted in the lawsuit are similar to those that were recently reported by troops and commanders on JBSA-Lackland, as well as Camp Bullis. Lenderman said that mold or mildew were found in 30 percent of all of the Randolph, Lackland, Fort Sam Houston, and Camp Bullis dorm rooms. Combined, 27,000 beds across 77 dorms are under the control of the wing, the most in the country.

However, it should be noted that no problems were found at privatized housing on local bases. The suit was filed on behalf of eight families who resided in Hunt-administered housing on Randolph and a ninth family at Laughlin. One of the families still lives at Randolph, and two live off base, while the remainder of the families have been stationed elsewhere.

Mold Inspection & Testing San Antonio has vast experience performing mold assessments in military housing throughout the nation. We strongly recommend that privatized housing owners arrange for regular mold inspections to ensure the safety of service-members and their families. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 210.446.0912.