Millions still owed to Moody housing workers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Millions still owed to Moody housing workers

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October 11, 2007

Valdosta - Carabetta Construction and its managing partner, American Eagle Communities was awarded a contract to build 600 new homes for the airmen stationed at Moody Air Force Base. But when they failed to pay their subcontractors, worked halted in March and the homes have been decaying behind locked gate ever since.

Most subcontractors still haven't been paid costing some their homes, their jobs, and their businesses. Kennon Whaley is out four million dollars.  "It devastated my business, the people that work for me, that helped build my business. My business was eight years old and on very firm ground until this contract."

And it's not just Valdosta.  Similar problems plague two of their other military housing projects in Florida and Arkansas but somehow the company was just awarded another multi-million dollar federal contract.  "Its sickening," says Congressman Jack Kingston.  "The total contract for the military was $3.3 billion, five different bases. Three of them have gone bad and yet they were still able to get another U.S. Government Contract."

Congressman Kingston met with around 30 of these subcontractors Thursday and says the company will be stopped and the subcontractors paid back.  "We've got to come up with a set of solution for the short term, try to get as much money as possible and for the long term to assure this doesn't happen again."

It will take $35 million, just to pay those owed in Lowndes County.

But most of the subcontractors say the damage has already been done.  "Its going to be years before things are back where they were. Even if I was paid in full," Whaley says.

The senate has asked for an audit to determine who is owned money and find solutions to help pay it back as soon as possible.

The Air Force is currently working with six bidders to sell the property and work re-start. They hope to have the deal worked out by the first of the year.