Mike Ozanian, Forbes, December 8, 2016


In September of 2014, I showed how taxpayers get hoodwinked on the cost of artificial turf fields, in part based on my own experience in Glen Rock, New Jersey, writing: "The reality is that non-partisan studies have shown the exact opposite--natural grass fields are a bargain compared to artificial turf due to the huge costs taxpayers get stuck with to maintain and replace artificial fields after their warranties expire. 

A month later, I wrote about the buyers remorse towns were going through after putting in artificial turf fields.: "Companies that make and install artificial turf fields market the long-term "cost savings" of using their plastic, cork and rubber product compared with natural grass. But all across the U.S. towns and schools that have replaced their grass fields with artificial turf are finding out the hard way that the plastic stuff doesn't always last as long as advertised."


One of the key problems facing towns, I pointed out in November of 2014, is that the failure rate of artificial turf fields in unknown by many municipalities. "There has been no specific data released by my town--or any other municipality I have researched--with respect to the definition of "premature failure" or the annual rate of failure.

When I pressed further about the definition of premature failure and failure rate, the company wrote: "Unfortunately we can't provide this information due to competitive and legal reasons. We totally understand that these may seem like simple questions to you, but as part of a public company and due to the unfortunate fact that we have ongoing litigation to think about, we cannot comment further here."

Top New Jersey lawmakers on Tuesday issued a sweeping call for accountability, including potential civil and criminal investigations as well as a class-action lawsuit, in response to allegations of fraud by the leading maker of artificial sports fields.

"The report that this company aggressively marketed a defective product, misled the schools and municipalities that purchased the turf and tried to conceal its actions and what it knew is extremely disturbing," Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said in a statement.

Sweeney added, "This is serious and it should be treated that way."