June 13, 2019


Source: https://thecity.nyc, June 12, 2019
By: Greg B. Smith

The city’s Housing Authority and the Department of Investigation are looking into how NYCHA workers checking for lead ended up using expired dust wipes to certify apartments are “clean,” THE CITY has learned.

The expired materials revelation raises questions about the credibility of the so-called clearance examinations NYCHA uses to officially declare an apartment lead-free.

Workers use the wipes after an apartment is cleaned of lead. The wipes, which gather dust samples, are sent to a lab for testing. But expired wipes are “less effective” at detecting lead, their manufacturer said.

Expired wipes were employed by some workers, THE CITY revealed last week as NYCHA blew it May 31 deadline to remove lead apartments where young children live.

Sources have since told THE CITY that workers at several developments were given wipes that expired in 2014 and 2016.…

February 4, 2019

Brad Pitt’s post-Katrina housing project faces even more backlash after residents discover their homes are rotting and caving in

Source: https://www.mysanantonio.com, February 1, 2019

  • Brad Pitt’s ambitious housing project tried to rebuild a New Orleans neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina, but residents are now complaining that their homes are rotting, collapsing, and caving in.
  • The damages have generated multiple lawsuits, including one against Pitt and his foundation, Make It Right.
  • Pitt’s lawyers petitioned to have him removed from the suit, which has now moved to federal court.

Brad Pitt’s nonprofit foundation, Make It Right, started with the goal of helping New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. As the city’s Lower 9th Ward recovered from the deadly Category 5 storm in 2005, the foundation sought to satisfy its most pressing need: housing.

“We went into it incredibly naive,” Pitt told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 2015. “Just thinking we can build homes — how hard is that?”

The project’s lofty goals, like equipping the homes with sustainable building materials and energy-saving appliances, were difficult to pull off.

Twelve years after the start of Make It Right, residents have reported that units are rotting, collapsing, and caving in. One told NBC News that mold and improper ventilation in her home caused a slew of health issues for her family, including respiratory infections, tremors, and memory problems.

January 8, 2019

Mold concerns raised at Harleysville apartment building

Source: https://www.thereporteronline.com, January 7, 2019
By: Bob Keeler

Christine Lindenmuth says it started in May with a musty smell coming from her bedroom air conditioner at Valley Manor, a Section 8 subsidized housing apartment building for low-income elderly and disabled persons on Broad Street in Harleysville.

After she complained about it, maintenance workers came and sprayed something to cover the smell, she said.

“They acted like that was going to do the job,” Lindenmuth, 71, said. “Well, it didn’t.”

When she complained again, a contractor came to look at the heat pump, but the problem still wasn’t fixed, she said.

“These heat pumps do not exhaust the condensation to the outside. It’s going into the inner wall and that’s causing the mold,” Lindenmuth said.

“I had to live all this summer without using the air conditioner. I had to sit beside the window with a table fan on because if I had the air conditioner on and it was blowing in, I got sick,” she said. “I got sick anyway, but I got less sick when I didn’t use it.”…

November 13, 2018

NBC10 Boston Responds: New House Nightmare

Source: https://www.nbcboston.com, November 7, 2018
By: Leslie Gaydos

Christie and Mike D’Andrea are rebuilding their lives after they lost their home.

“It’s like having a house fire, you lose everything, its tragic,” said homeowner Christie D’Andrea.“You say your house is full of mold and you’ve lost everything people kind of look at you and go, what?”

The couple closed on a newly constructed $481,000 home on Birch Street in Pembroke in Dec. 2014.

They moved in on New Year’s Day and Mike proposed in the front yard. But their new beginning took a disastrous turn weeks later when they discovered mold in the attic and water in the basement.

“I just wish we had never bought it, it turned into such a nightmare,” said D’Andrea.“I wish we had never found the listing. I wish we never embarked on this.”

The D’Andrea’s moved out of the house earlier this year.

They were having health issues they blamed on toxic mold exposure. Mike said he had lost sixty pounds and Christie complained of numbness in her hands and arms. They say their doctor advised them to move out and take nothing with them.…

July 30, 2018

S.F. Shipyard homeowners sue developer

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, July 25, 2018
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

The developer of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, already beleaguered by a cleanup scandal and slumping condominium sales, now has another problem to worry about: lawsuits by homeowners.

On Tuesday, attorneys for two families who bought homes in the Bayview district development in 2015 and 2016 filed lawsuits against both the developer and the environmental engineering firm accused of botching the cleanup of the Superfund site, which was home to the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory from 1946 to 1969.

In the lawsuits, the homeowners, Theo Ellington and his wife Victoria Trusty, and Linda Parker Pennington and husband Greg Pennington, claim that developer FivePoint and property owner Lennar failed to disclose to prospective residents the extent of contamination of the property. They also claim the developer didn’t inform home buyers about allegations that Tetra Tech, the environmental engineering company that was paid more than $250 million for the cleanup, had faked soil samples in order to pass off parts of the shipyard as being less contaminated than they were.

The lawsuits state that the “defendants are all responsible for the loss of value in plaintiffs’ homes due to the continuing toxic nature of the Superfund and former nuclear testing site upon and near plaintiffs’ homes, and the ensuing health and other issues that waste has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause until it is remediated.”…

July 27, 2018

Toxins found in Upper Dublin drinking water; EPA holds forum to address concerns

Source: https://6abc.com, July 26, 2018
By: Vernon Odum

The tap water in Upper Dublin Township is widely believed by local residents to be dangerously contaminated by firefighting agents from military bases in this area of Montgomery County.

The acronym for the contaminating chemical in question is PFAS, which stands for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.

According to the EPA’s website, the chemicals in PFAS are “very persistent in the environment and in the human body,” meaning they accumulate and stay in the body for a long period of time.

“This a Frankenstein’s monster kind of chemical,” said Upper Dublin Resident Mark Cuker. “It doesn’t break down when you drink it. It stays in your body and causes adverse health effects.”…

July 19, 2018

‘Toxic mold’ forces military families out of Keesler housing, lawsuit says

Source: https://www.sunherald.com, July 17, 2018
By: Anita Lee

Eleven military families are suing the companies that own and manage Keesler Air Force Base housing over “toxic mold” that continued to grow in their homes after the companies responded to complaints with inadequate remedies, including cleanup with soap and water, the lawsuits say.

Five of the families reported still living in the homes in West Falcon, Thrower Park and Bayridge subdivisions in Biloxi when the Rushing & Guice law firm filed the lawsuits in December 2017. Six other families say the mold drove them from their homes in West Falcon and Bayridge.

The three subdivisions were part of the largest housing construction project in Air Force history, with $287 million spent on more than 1,000 homes built after Hurricane Katrina. An article in the Sun Herald said keys were handed over in March 2010 to the last of the homes built by El Paso-based Hunt Building Construction.

Complaints about mold started as early as 2015, the lawsuits indicate…

July 16, 2018

Legionnaire’s Cases Reported in Washington Heights

Source: https://cooperator.com, July 16, 2018
By: David Chiu

Cooling Towers Have Been Linked to the Disease

The New York City Department of Health announced last week that it is investigating several cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the lower Washington Heights section of Manhattan. As of July 15, there were 16 people diagnosed with the condition in recent days, CBS2 News reported. The age range of those affected ranged from 40 to 80 years old.

“The Health Department has identified a cluster of Legionnaires disease in the Lower Washington Heights area,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a press statement. “While most people exposed to Legionella don’t get sick, individuals ages 50 and above, especially those who smoke and have chronic lung conditions, are at a higher risk. This disease is very treatable with antibiotics. I encourage anyone with symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease to seek care early.”

Legionnaire’s is a form of pneumonia, said the department, caused by the bacteria that grow in warm water. People become ill after breathing in water vapor that has the bacteria. It is not contagious and does not transmit from person to person.

July 10, 2018

Carson grilled about lead paint and mold in public housing

Source: http://www.watertowndailytimes.com, June 28, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was peppered with questions by lawmakers over the department’s handling of lead paint and mold in public housing, leading to a heated exchange over how to pay for fixing the issue.

At a House Financial Services Committee oversight hearing Wednesday, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., quizzed Carson on the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 funding request, which called for zeroing out the department’s public housing capital fund, a source used for repairs to public housing.

She raised the case of the New York City Housing Authority, which on June 11 entered into a $1.2 billion consent decree with the Justice Department over numerous living conditions issues, including for failing to meet federal lead safety requirements and to properly conduct inspections of housing facilities.

The agreement requires the appointment of a federal monitor for five years to oversee remediation and capital repairs, which Velazquez said didn’t square with the administration’s funding request.

“How were you expecting NYCHA to meet these terms and these upgrades when you requested zero dollars for the Public Housing Capital Fund for FY 2019?” Velazquez asked. “It is great that you are exercising proper oversight, but money talks.”…

December 21, 2017

Park La Brea apartments loses $3.5-million bedbug lawsuit, lawyer says

Source: http://www.advisen.com, December 17, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com

Sixteen former and current residents of one of Los Angeles’ largest apartment complexes have won a $3.5-million verdict over an infestation of bedbugs in their units, according to their lawyer.

Park La Brea Apartments, a sprawling complex with more than 4,000 units in the Miracle Mile District, was found liable by a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court late Friday afternoon, said attorney Brian Virag, who represented the plaintiffs.

A representative for Park La Brea Apartments could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The 16 renters who lived in eight separate units complained about the bedbugs from 2011 to 2013; Virag said management of the complex knew about the problem since 2008. Nearly all of the tenants have since moved out, he said.

“They failed to warn any of the tenants of the original problem,” said Virag, who specializes in bedbug problems at hotels and apartments.

Although the medical costs to treat the bedbug bites were only about $2,200, the attorney said the jury awarded the large sum due to the emotional distress caused.…