Following a six-month investigation into FieldTurf, NJ Advance Media shared its report stating that FieldTurf fields were not only falling apart before they were supposed to, but that key executives knew about it. They also continued to sell the product.
The record obtained by NJ Advance Media show that as early as 2006, key execs with the company became aware that the turf, aka Duraspine, was cracking, splitting and breaking apart long before it should have.
Rather than lasting 10 or more years, with blades of turf uniformly “standing up” like natural grass as promised, many fields simply fell over and fell to pieces, the report stated. Photos are included with the report of players covered in the turf after games, looking much like they would if they played on a freshly mowed natural grass field.
From 2006 to 2012, Montreal-based FieldTurf sold more than 1,400 fields to towns, schools and teams across the country after executives knew they were falling apart faster than expected, according to the report. The fields cost anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 each.
After digging through years of emails and public records, the team behind the investigation found that after five years of FieldTurf CEOs repeatedly brushing aside warnings of their own employees, they switched gears, claiming to be the victim of fraud and sued their supplier. Then, FieldTurf settled their case against that supplier and began damage control.
FieldTurf CEO reacts
Eric Daliere is the chief executive at FieldTurf.
“To be clear, there was a problem with the Duraspine product. I joined FieldTurf in late 2009. In 2010, I became concerned that the fiber was wearing out earlier than our supplier promised us in certain environments. We initiated an investigation and determined that in high-UV (sunny) areas, this was the case. We sued the fiber supplier, declaring what we believed the defect to be and stating which types of customers we expected to be impacted. We did not hide from it. In fact, the emails in The Star-Ledger story were taken from the public record in that litigation,” Daliere said in an opinion piece posted on NJ.com.
According to Daliere, of the 114 Duraspine fields installed in New Jersey that have passed their eight-year warranty period, 14 have been replaced due to normal wear and tear. Thirteen of those customers chose to use FieldTurf as the replacement field.
To read the full report, click here.