Military families speak out about mold

Posted at 1:07 AM, Apr 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-11 11:08:13-04

It’s been more than four months since a NewsChannel 3 investigation exposed mold and water damage problems in off-base military housing.

And tonight, yet another Navy housing forum was held for Lincoln Military residents in the Little Creek district. But since we weren’t invited, we talked to the families afterward.

“I feel like Lincoln feels like it’s over, they’ve done what they need to do and it’s over,” says Stephanie Fingland, a Navy wife.

Their homes are just some of the many that have been remediated for mold deemed to be safe by Lincoln Military Housing.

But these Navy wives still don’t believe it.

“The things that they tell people and the things that are actually happening are not on the same page,” says Rachel Wile.

Rachel Wile and her family were moved out of their Shelton Circle home for a week for remediation. Stephanie Fingland and her family spent eight weeks in a hotel before Lincoln moved her into a new home.

But both of their families are still plagued with health problems they say because Lincoln never cleaned their moldy furniture and belongings.

“I’m as sick as I was in my old house. They might as well have kept me there— might as well have not done anything,” says Stephanie. “My insurance company refuses to give me renter’s insurance without a certificate of remediation.”

Both families say Lincoln has not been helpful since their remediations were deemed complete.

After going to the Navy, Rachel finally made contact with Little Creek’s Command Master Chief.

“He told us about the forum and said that this was an opportunity for answers to be given, to meet the powers that be, and to be able to get the results that we need,” says Rachel.

All three Navy housing forums this week were closed to the media, so our cameras could not document what actually happened.

About 20 families are now planning legal action against the housing company.

Lincoln planned on fighting the lawsuits by claiming sovereign immunity because they were working for the Navy, they would be considered an extension of the federal government and couldn’t be sued.

But now, NewsChannel 3 has learned of a new twist to the legal case

According to court documents, the United States government has asked Lincoln to withdraw their sovereign immunity defense.

Lincoln agreed, which now means the company is liable for anything these military families can prove in court.

“The amount of families that have come forward, the amount of homes that have been tested, it’s been disgraceful. Lincoln was given the contract because they were supposed to do what’s right for these military families, and they neglected that. Hopefully, they will be held accountable,” says Rachel.

Lincoln Military sent NewsChannel 3 a statement in response to these unhappy families:

“We respect the rights of a handful of residents to pursue lawsuits, but we also have a right to defend ourselves and our reputation from baseless allegations and falsehoods, and this action preserves that right.  We look forward to the opportunity to present all of the real facts of this case in an objective court of law, and are confident that we will prevail on the merits of this case.”

There is still one more forum this week, on Thursday, at the Norfolk Crossing Community Center, from 6-7 p.m. Only current Lincoln Military residents are allowed.