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Readiness Chairman Garamendi’s Statement on Property Management Firm Pleading Guilty to Defrauding U.S. Air Force

June 14, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness who has conducted extensive oversight and enacted policies to address the privatized military family housing crisis, issued the statement below after the Department of Justice announced that a major property management firm—Balfour Beatty Communities—plead guilty to defrauding the U.S. Air Force.

Garamendi called a representative from Balfour Beatty Communities to testify and be questioned before the Readiness Subcommittee on March 10th on the company’s involvement in the privatized military family housing crisis.  Garamendi also led two Readiness hearings on the privatized military family housing crisis in 2019 on April 4 and December 5.

“Early into my tenure as Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, I was approached by several military families about the abhorrent living conditions they were subjected to from privately constructed military housing units,” Garamendi said. “We received heart wrenching testimony from families about the unsafe and unhealthy housing they were subjected to, and as Chair I helped enact a ‘Tenants’ Bill of Rights’ to hold private housing contractors accountable for developing safe on-base housing for service members and their families.

“This announcement from the Department of Justice shows how critically important it is to enforce these policies and continue to conduct robust oversight into the private military housing industry. Employees of Balfour Beatty Communities defrauded several U.S. Air Force installations—including Travis Air Force Base in my Congressional District—by manipulating maintenance reports to falsely reflect that the company’s housing units complied with maintenance standards. Sadly, this reflects the neglect and nefarious actions many companies have undertaken at the expense of our service members to protect their bottom line,” Garamendi continued.

“I applaud the Department of Justice for pursuing justice for the military families who were harmed by these unsafe military housing units. As Readiness Chair, I will remain steadfast in my determination to right these wrongs and ensure no family is subjected to these unconscionable living conditions again,” Garamendi concluded.

The two defendants in the case, Rick Cunefare and Stacy M. Cabrera, will be sentenced at a later date. Cunefare faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while Cabrera faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.