- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nearly a dozen military families at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County are taking their on-post landlord to court, saying they have been forced to live in substandard homes filled with rampant mold, rotting wood and standing water.

The federal lawsuit, filed this week, targets Corvias Management-Army LLC and Meade Communities LLC, the companies that manage and operate the privatized on-base housing at Fort Meade.

“Requests for maintenance have been ignored, repair efforts when made have been substandard and slipshod attempts at cosmetic fixes have not resolved the problem,” the lawsuit states. “All the while, defendants have collected the full amount of the servicemembers’ housing allowances, preventing them from moving off base.”

The families range from junior military members on their first tour of duty to a veteran Army colonel with almost three decades of service. They contend that Corvias forced them to live in squalor that caused and exacerbated significant health problems.

“At Fort Meade, the on-base housing has been a tremendous source of stress and harm to these servicemembers and their families as a result of defendants’ actions and inactions. Defendants, on the other hand, have profited substantially from this arrangement,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit argues there is a “pervasive” problem with mold in the housing at Fort Meade.

A Corvias spokeswoman told Stars and Stripes newspaper that the company is aware of the lawsuit, which doesn’t reflect the resources and attention that has been brought to housing at Fort Meade.

Army Col. Scott Gerber noticed problems from the start in 2018 when he and his family moved into their Corvias-managed home on Fort Meade.

“They found the kitchen flooded, with water running from the kitchen into the garage,” according to the lawsuit.

It was the first of several instances of water damage and mold infestation in the home. The garage tested positive for black mold, according to the lawsuit. The company eventually moved the family to another home but that one also had severe mold problems, the lawsuit states.

Col. Gerber’s wife suffered a severe allergy attack while living there.

Other families listed in the lawsuit complained of severe mold with their homes. In each case, they said Corvias did little to address the problem.

The lawsuit argues that the property managers were aware of the conditions. The housing contract included a “mold addendum” families are required to sign before they move in. According to their lawyers, the addendum attempts to “downplay” the adverse health effects of mold by saying it’s organically “all around us” and there is conflicting evidence that it can cause medical problems.

The lawsuit accuses the company of a variety of actionable offenses, ranging from gross negligence to breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, the families are asking for a jury trial and want the case certified as a class-action lawsuit.

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