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Republican Eric Hovde's company exposed workers to hazardous chemical 

Employees were put at risk to develop asthma or chronic bronchitis.

By Jesse Valentine - April 12, 2024
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CORRECTS BYLINE AND SOURCE TO JOHN HART/WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL - Eric Hovde, a Republican businessman and real estate mogul launched, announces he is for running U.S. Senate against Wisconsin Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Madison, Wis. Hovde previously ran for Senate in 2012 but finished a close second to former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson in the primary. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

A real estate company run by Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde was hit with nearly $13,000 in OSHA fines after multiple employees were exposed to a hazardous chemical. 

Hovde Properties, based in Madison, builds and manages luxury commercial and residential properties across Wisconsin. The company was founded in 1933 by Hovde’s grandfather. Hovde and his brother, Steve, later took over the business.

According to records from the U.S. Department of Labor Enforcement, in March 2018 three contractors working on a Hovde Properties project in Milwaukee were exposed to ozone, a highly reactive gaseous chemical sometimes used to sanitize commercial buildings. In the offending incident, an ozone generator was being used in an enclosed space for odor elimination.

An investigation found that Hovde Properties failed to properly assess the safety of their work site, did not properly notify employees about ozone’s risks, and did not provide required training for working with hazardous chemicals. As a result, employees did not wear the proper protective gear.

Exposure to ozone for short periods of time can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing. Longer exposures have been associated with fluid buildup on the lungs, asthma, and chronic bronchitis.

At least two of the affected employees were contracted maintenance workers who experienced “prolonged exposure” to ozone.

Hovde Properties brokered a settlement with OSHA and only had to pay $7,000 of the initial $12,934 in fines.

If Hovde secures the Republican nomination, he will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in the November election. Hovde’s campaign was endorsed by former President Donald Trump on April 2.

A Hovde campaign spokesperson directed all inquiries about this matter to Hovde Properties. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this article.


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