SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — While U.S. service members risk their lives, many of their family members continue to live in dirty and dangerous homes.
A new investigation by Reuters and CBS News uncovered misconduct by one of the military’s largest landlords. CBS13 investigator Julie Watts dug deeper into the connection at Travis Air Force Base.
The investigation found Belfour Beatty, the same landlord at Travis Air Force Base, misled the Air Force to qualify for millions of dollars in bonus payments at bases nationwide.
While the CBS-Reuters investigation focused on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, officials confirm similar issues here at Travis.
The Ippolito’s are just one of the Air Force Families forced to endure dirty and dangerous conditions in military homes managed by Balfour Beatty Communities.
Internal records reviewed by CBS News and Reuters reveal Balfour Beatty maintenance technician documented his concern that the couple’s infant daughter could get sick from chewing on flooring tiles that contained asbestos. The couple said they were unaware of the concern.
“It’s very upsetting. To know that he was concerned for our child safety but didn’t tell us,” said Alexandria Ippolito.
Records obtained by CBS and Reuters also reveal that Balfour Beatty at least for a time had falsified its response time for maintenance requests, keeping two sets of books. Calls were first recorded on paper and then entered into a computer system monitored by the Air Force, but only when a job was nearly completed, making it appear that the company was responding quickly to problems. This also kept the company eligible for millions in performance-based bonuses.
In a statement, Balfour Beatty said it “has not and does not condone the falsification of records in any way.”
According to the company, allegations if misconduct date back “several years.”
A quarterly compliance report for Travis Air Force Base shows officials found non-compliance in recent years, ranging from maintenance and cleaning to falsified records and poorly maintained roads and sidewalks.
Since 2015, military housing officials at Travis Air Force Base, and two other bases issued more than a dozen warnings about Balfour Beatty maintenance logs, but the Air Force only began suspending their incentive payments last year.
“I mean it’s almost heartbreaking. I mean, we already risk our lives every day, you know you think you’ve got your family home safe. And to find out that you know you got your kid eating asbestos floor,” Nicholas Ippolito said.
The assistant secretary of the Air Force said his office takes the health and safety of airmen and their families seriously. When inaccurate data was discovered, the Air Force placed Balfour Beatty on a corrective action plan and referred allegations of fraud to the FBI.