Amie Norquist says her family has suffered health problems from mold in their MacDill base housing. They had to get rid of mold-contaminated furniture, too, in an expensive move to a new home in Riverview. (Times/TNS)

TAMPA — Five military families filed a federal lawsuit this week against owners and managers of private housing at MacDill Air Force Base, alleging years of negligence in persistent problems with mold throughout the buildings.

The families seek damages for emotional, financial and medical costs associated with mold exposure and other medical concerns. The lawsuit is the latest among several suits filed against military housing landlords across the country.

The Tampa lawsuit alleges that property owners and managers rejected families' concerns over mold exposure, performed shoddy remediation efforts, and failed to share results of their testing for mold. In at least one house, the mold went untreated for so long that mushrooms grew out of the floor, according to the suit.

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

A government official finally put to rest on Tuesday the lazy excuse that if privatized military housing was really that bad, service members would simply move out.

Elizabeth Field, director of the Government Accountability Office Defense Capabilities and Management, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that one of the metrics the Defense Department uses to measure privatized housing success is high occupancy rates.

In a May report, she said, the DoD called occupancy rates indicative of "high level of service member satisfaction and overall success."

That's wrong.

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Roxanne Roellchen interacts with her sons in their family's new home, which they moved into after experiencing roaches, leaks and black mold at another property, at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas U.S. November 16, 2019. (Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - A U.K. company that provides housing to U.S. military families came under official investigation earlier this year, after Reuters disclosed it had faked maintenance records to pocket performance bonuses at an Oklahoma Air Force base.

At the time, Balfour Beatty Communities said it strove to correctly report its maintenance work. It blamed any problems on a sole former employee at the Oklahoma base.

Now, Reuters has found that Balfour Beatty employees systematically doctored records in a similar scheme at a Texas base.

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Petty Officer Derek Buitrago and his wife, Sandra, say they found black mold along their Corvias home's baseboards (Courtesy of Covington & Burling)

Ten military families are taking their privatized housing provider, Corvias, to court over "appalling housing conditions and cavalier treatment" at Fort Meade in Maryland, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday by law firm Covington & Burling —which is handling the lawsuit pro bono, according to their press release — details "distressingly similar stories of poorly maintained infrastructure leading to serious problems, such as mold growing on walls, windows, and pipes," at the the installation.

The lawsuit was first reported by the Washington Post. The defendants identified include Corvias Management-Army LLC and Meade Communities, LLC, which is a part of Corvias.

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The Army is launching two surveys to hear directly from families about how privatized and Army-owned housing is holding up, and what you think about the changes that have been made over the last several months.

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The Air Force has freakin' had it with one of its major private housing providers and has given them 90 days to get their shit together, or else.

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