VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The chalk has come down in Shelton Circle but the anger and frustration over mold remains high.
Lincoln Military Housing says it has worked diligently to remedy the family’s issues, and that all work it has completed meets industry standards.
We returned Thursday to the home of Iisha Garcia and her husband Felipe Lopez, a gunner’s mate connected to the USS Harry S. Truman.
She showed us areas where Lincoln had completed some remediation work on her walls, but not in other spaces where mold appeared to be growing — including bathroom cabinets, the ceiling access door for the attic crawlspace, and ceiling vents, among others.
In April, Garcia scrawled her anger over the mold on her outside walls. She, Lopez, and their daughter live in the home and they paid for a private mold inspection that found elevated mold in four rooms.
Garcia used the showerhead to spray the shower walls in the master bath while the mold and mildew washed down into the drain. She says they clean the shower regularly.
Lincoln has done repair work on the drywall and replaced a leaking water heater. The company says tests completed after that work showed no mold. Lincoln also says that work was inspected by its Navy partners, and was certified by a third-party vendor.
Lincoln management sent this statement on the case Friday afternoon:
“We worked diligently to remedy all issues previously reported by Mrs. Garcia and our Navy Partners have been involved at every step to ensure that the resolution achieved meets not only our high standards but the Navy’s as well. All work completed in the home meets industry standards, was inspected by our Navy Partners and was certified by a third-party vendor.
On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, our Navy Partner reported potential maintenance needs that were reported to them by Mrs. Garcia. We immediately recorded a work order for tracking and communicated directly with Mrs. Garcia on next steps, per our policy. We conducted the initial visit the following day and we plan to return to Mrs. Garcia’s home on Monday to finalize all work needed for the new work order. As we have done with each work order for Mrs. Garcia, we will ensure this work will be completed to the satisfaction of both our resident and Navy Partners.“
A maintenance crew arrived Thursday and said they would return Monday.
Despite the tests done by Lincoln and the family, the EPA has no standard for environmental mold — unlike radon in air, lead in drinking water, and other contaminants.
Garcia and Lopez are now suing.
“I do not think my home is a safe place to be,” Lopez said. “I don’t understand why it has taken Lincoln Military Housing this long to recognize that.”
Lopez says when the company was served notice of the lawsuit in May, his command on the Truman told him he could leave the ship while it was still deployed.
“They said, ‘We realize the seriousness of the situation and you’re flying out tomorrow on the first COD that leaves,’ 18 days before our scheduled pull-in date.”
The couple says they are willing to drop their suit and settle out of court if Lincoln would acknowledge the ongoing problem and compensate them for their inconvenience.