A military landlord falsified maintenance logs at a major Air Force base to boost profits

news

Maintenance requests, some of which were not fully completed, are seen in Derek Rouse's home at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, U.S. May 1, 2019

(Reuters/Nick Oxford)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of UK infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty plc falsified housing maintenance records at a major U.S. military base to help it maximize fees earned from the Department of Defense, a Reuters investigation found.

At Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the company's U.S.-based unit used a second set of books and altered records to make it appear responsive to maintenance requests, Reuters found in a review of company and Air Force emails, internal memos and other documents, as well as interviews with former workers.


The practice boosted the company's apparent performance at completing work on time, making it eligible to receive bonus fees from the Pentagon while persuading Air Force brass to ignore warnings from military base employees. The maintenance delays left tenants exposed to environmental hazards, residents said, such as asbestos, mold and sewage.

Balfour Beatty Communities, the U.S. unit that manages housing on military bases for the Pentagon, said in a statement that one employee acted "improperly" in 2016 and that the problems were not widespread. Since then, the company said, it has worked with the Air Force to strengthen its maintenance process.

"As an organization, BBC has not and does not condone the falsification of records in any way," the company said in a statement.

Air Force housing employees stationed at Tinker reported instances of questionable record-keeping and slum-like living conditions to Air Force officials from late 2015 through 2018, emails and interviews show. Attempts to hold Balfour Beatty accountable were often blocked by the Air Force Civil Engineering Center, or AFCEC, an office based in San Antonio, Texas, tasked with monitoring private landlords.

John Henderson, the Air Force assistant secretary for installations, said AFCEC took the accusations seriously and since late last year has withheld all incentive fees from Balfour Beatty at Tinker and two other of the company's bases. He said "allegations of fraud" were referred to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2017.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations does not discuss investigations, said a spokesperson. But she added: "Conversations are still taking place" with the U.S. Department of Justice "about what avenues (criminal or civil) – if any – can be pursued against Balfour Beatty."

Balfour Beatty earns $33 million in annual profit through its U.S. military housing activities. The incentive fees alone on those operations are worth about $800 million over the life of the 50-year contracts the company holds for 43,000 homes on 55 Air Force, Navy and Army bases, Reuters calculates.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider

If you're in the market for a bunker in the southwest, you're in luck. A decommissioned missile complex is now on sale outside of Tucson for nearly $400,000. The complex was home to an armed Titan II missile for 24 years, before it was decommissioned in the 1980s.

The structure is listed with Grant Hampton at Realty Executives. Now, the home is back on the market, and these photos show what lies underground in Arizona.

Read More Show Less

Connecting with the youths is all fun and games until Congress starts worrying you could accidentally expose the U.S. military to Chinese data collection, am I right?

Read More Show Less

A Florida Navy Reserve officer rescued a woman who was trapped in a sinking car, according to a report by CBS 47.

Read More Show Less

The Marine Corps will investigate whether another Marine has ties to a white supremacist group after he allegedly made racist comments on neo Nazi message boards that have since been taken down, according to a Marine Corps official.

Vice News reporters Tess Owen and Tim Hume first reported on Nov. 8 that at least three people who posted on the new defunct Iron March message boards were service members, but their story did not include any of the troops' names.

Newsweek reporters James LaPorta and Asher Stockler were able to independently confirm the identity of one of those service members as an active-duty Marine: Lance Corporal Liam J. Collins, an 0311 Rifleman assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States knows the location of the third in command to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself last month during a U.S.-led raid.

"We have our eye on his third," Trump said during the question-and-answer session following a speech at the Economic Club of New York. "His third has got a lot of problems because we know where he is too."

Read More Show Less