Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here .
BOULDER, Co. -- Kari Nelson says she’s exhausted from this summer. First, she dealt with a sewage leak in her Boulder apartment, then mold; and now, asbestos.
“It’s an overwhelming amount of things that you never expect,” she told Denver7.
Nelson first called Contact7 in June , when a leaking sewage pipe was occasionally flooding her bathroom and kitchen and left mold behind.
She says Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), the housing authority in Boulder, originally ignored her claims until Denver7 got involved.
“And miraculously they said, 'oh my gosh there’s mold,'” she said.
BHP went in to fix the mold problem. Nelson took pictures and video of the amount of mold that was uncovered, and how drywall and floors were ripped out to clean and disinfect the apartment.
In a statement, Boulder Housing Partners told Denver7: “As part of the cleanup and according to protocol in a building of this age, drywall containing asbestos was removed to make repairs.”
The statement went on to say that testing for asbestos was done after that cleanup was completed. It did not mention any testing for the presence of asbestos before demolition was started.
“There was a layer of dust on everything upstairs and that was a concern,” Kari said, describing finding her upstairs bedroom covered from the demo work downstairs.
She emailed BHP, asking if a pre-demolition asbestos test was performed.
“I do not have a pre demolition asbestos test,” the response from a member of BHP read.
“So they were just negligent,” Nelson said.
She had a third party test her belongings for asbestos, and the tests came back confirming a contamination.
“My bedroom, my daughter’s bedroom, the linen closet, and the bathroom (were impacted). We were advised to dispose of everything,” Nelson told Denver7. “It will come close to $30,000.”
BHP says they did not receive documentation of Nelson’s asbestos claim. She showed the final report to Denver7.
To make matters even more interesting, Boulder Housing Partners was paying for Kari’s hotel and to store her belongings while her apartment was fixed. They offered to continue to do so in a “Settlement Agreement and Release” if Nelson would agree not to sue or hold BHP liable for anything including asbestos.
She refused, and says when she did then Boulder Housing cut her off completely, stopping payments on her storage and hotel.