Daniel Novick-KFOX News
April 14, 2010
EL PASO, Texas – As KFOX has extensively reported, some soldiers and their families have had to live in deplorable conditions at Fort Bliss, dealing with black mold, lead paint and asbestos affecting the health of them and their children.
Now there are allegations of threats and intimidation by top commanders if soldiers and their families spoke out about the problems.
When Dave Hemmingsen’s daughter and son-in-law moved to Fort Stewart, Ga., they moved into some of the worst housing the military has to offer.
“They’re house was horrible. It had mold and mildew, it was rotting, the whole neighborhood looked horrible,” said Hemmingsen.
Hemmingsen started a Facebook Web page about the problems, and on the discussion board there, he started hearing about similar issues at Fort Bliss.
While at Fort Stewart, Hemmingsen said the command followed up and took care of the problems, but at Fort Bliss, he said the command followed up in a very different way.
“If they posted something, somebody showed up at their door within about an hour and told them to get it off of the Facebook page,” Hemmingsen told KFOX.
Then his daughter one day responded to a Fort Bliss posting, and his son-in-law heard about it all the way in Fort Stewart.
“Preston’s battalion commander was told to get that soldier in line and tell him to get his wife in line, teach him what the Army was all about,” he said.
Hemmingsen said his son-in law was allowed to read the e-mail his battalion commander received.
“The e-mail apparently came from the Garrison Commander’s office at Fort Bliss from Col. Manning,” said Hemmingsen.
So Hemmingsen flew all the way from South Carolina for Wednesday’s Fort Bliss town hall meeting, to confront Fort Bliss’ command on the issue of intimidation, a meeting KFOX was denied from attending, but was televised.
“I want to know what you’re going to do to stop that, my daughter is not in the military, she should not be threatened by one of your officers,” said Hemmingsen as it was broadcasted on Fort Bliss’ channel on cable.
“I’m not aware of the specific case you are talking about, because I haven’t seen the e-mail, I’m happy to look at any e-mails where someone has been threatening somebody. It’s not something we tolerate, we don’t tolerate it in regular units so I just need the information so I can go look at it,” said Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg in response.
Manning was not in attendance at Wednesday’s town hall, as he was just recently reassigned to a position off of post.
KFOX had a number of other questions for Bromberg about this story, but again, KFOX was denied access to the town hall meeting.
Hemmingsen said he has filed a formal complaint with the Inspector General about the e-mail and alleged threat.
Finally, Hemmingsen said several dozen families have moved out of sub-standard living conditions in the last few months at Fort Bliss, and he hoped that continues.
•May 28, 2009: Child Left Forever Sick, Parent Blames Ft. Bliss Housing
•May 28, 2009: Army Wife: Ft. Bliss Homes Make Children Sick
•August 14, 2008: ONLY ON KFOX: Fort Bliss Garrison Commander Weighs In On Housing Troubles
•August 13, 2008: Families Still Face Issues With Fort Bliss Housing
•August 12, 2008: ONLY ON KFOX: Families Complain About Fort Bliss Housing
•April 23, 2008: Fort Bliss Responds To Home With Mold
•April 18, 2008: Family Complains About Fort Bliss Housing
Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer
Information on Riverstone Residential, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, and the owners of Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana continuing to allow tenants to be exposed to extreme amounts of mold toxins
Irrefutable evidence indicates that Riverstone Residential, Guarantee Service Team of Professionals, & plaintiffs’ attorney, J Arthur Smith III, must have agreed to exclude evidence that would have shown the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments & Riverstone Residential had knowledge of the severe MOLD INFESTATION at the complex before we moved in