Rich McFadden / U.S. Air Force
The administration building San Antonio's Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph
Families living on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and Laughlin AFB in Del Rio have filed a federal lawsuit alleging substandard housing conditions at the two military facilities sickened them.
The suit accuses private contractor Hunt Military Communities of exposing military personnel and their families to dangerous conditions, including mold, airborne toxins and vermin infestations. The case was filed in San Antonio federal court on behalf of nine families living at the bases.
Hunt officials issued a written statement saying the suit is without merit and that the company will "vigorously" defend itself. Hunt, which bills itself as the nation's largest military housing owner, operates 52,000 homes on 49 military installations.
According to the lawsuit, when base residents complained about poor conditions, Hunt would make slapdash repairs and mislead tenants about the extent of the work done to remedy their problems.
"Many service-members and their families have fallen ill as a result of mold exposure, lost nearly all their personal possessions, and paid their full base housing allowance for woefully substandard facilities," according to the filing.
The suit attributes the housing problems to Hunt’s "profound neglect, malfeasance and greed."
The suit comes after military officials revealed this summer
that mold or mildew has been identified in 30% of all dorm rooms at San Antonio's Randolph, Lackland, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis facilities.
In a statement to the Current
, 502d Air Base Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman said the Air Force, while not party to the litigation, will ensure privatized housing owners fulfill their required duties.
"Safe and healthy living environments for all service members and their families on JBSA is my top priority," Lenderman said. "This should be a given, not an option. I take my responsibility to take care of people seriously."
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