Fort Bragg families sue housing partner over unsanitary and unsafe living conditions.
Three Fort Bragg families have filed a class-action complaint against the site’s housing partner Corvias, its founder, John Picerene, Heather Fuller, Corvias’ operations director at Fort Bragg, and Corvias’ affiliates. The plaintiffs allege their homes have mold, lead-based paint, and wood rot, among other issues. The 64-page complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and seeks both a jury trial and damages exceeding $5 million.
“Staff Sgt. Shane Page, Spc. Spenser Ganske and Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Wilkes are the plaintiffs in the case represented by Raleigh-based Penry and Reimann law firm and South Carolina-based Bauer and Metro law firm,” court documents state and indicate, there could be “thousands of members” in the proposed class-action lawsuit.
The filing suggests when “Corvias entered into its lease with Fort Bragg in 2003, its representatives were aware of an environmental baseline survey of lead paint in 1993. The information about lead-based paint and its hazards was not provided to residents.” It alleges the defendants “leased homes with known problems that caused lack of effective moisture and air barriers between exterior cladding and wall cavities in all homes.” The problems allegedly “caused mold, wood rot and other conditions that threatened the health and safety of the plaintiffs, as workers were allegedly instructed to conceal the defects from tenants.”
The complaint states, “The defendants breached contract obligations, shoddy repairs were made to homes, misleading records were kept and tenants were threatened with punitive damages if they refused to sign new leases.” It also alleges, “Documents will show that defendants received iron-clad assurances of profit while class plaintiffs lived in slum-like conditions.”
Page first took note of water damage to his home in September 2016, with Corvias workers allegedly “painting over the damage instead of repairing its cause.” Because of the shoddy band-aid, “In the following months, the home was infested with ants, cracks appeared in walls, the heating and air conditioning ventilation system failed, and most calls for repairs were tardy and insufficient.” Yet, the service member felt his family were obligated to stay bound to the lease, because he received an email in 2019 – a year after mold was discovered – indicating he could renew or would face $100 in monthly fees.
When Wilkies and his family moved into their home, the immediately noticed “cracked bricks, a sagging floor inside and plumbing issues.” In December 2019, the roof and inside ceiling collapsed, as one worker fell through. Wilkies has filed nearly three dozen work orders with Corvias.
Squirrels were living in the attic of Ganske’s home when his family moved in, “with urine soaking through the living room ceiling,” the complaint says. “Water instruction caused mold to grow in the window frame of their daughter’s bedroom. There was a large crack in the ceiling that extended down the wall, dirty carpet with nails underneath and electrical outlets in the bathroom not working.”
Military spouse Tamara Terry is not part of the lawsuit, but she says her family went through similar issues with Corvias.
“A lot of people have the same complaints, it’s just unfortunate that they get ignored a lot or go unresolved,” Terry said. “They were given so much money to either demolish or redo these homes, and they just didn’t, instead they did patch work.”
Mary Humphreys, a Corvias director, responded, “We’re aware of the lawsuit that was filed, however it does not reflect accurate details. We intend to dispute what is described.”