Eric Hovde’s company exposed workers to dangerous chemicals, OSHA reports say

Madison, Wis. businessman and Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Eric Hovde speaks Tuesday April 2, 2024, at a former President Donald Trump rally in Green Bay, Wis. The Wisconsin Senate race between Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Eric Hovde is setting up as one of the most competitive and expensive Senate races in the country. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

By Sophie Boudreau

April 18, 2024

A Madison-based real estate company run by Wisconsin US Senate candidate Eric Hovde settled with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2018 after three employees were exposed to a hazardous chemical called ozone.

The Republican candidate serves as CEO of real estate development firm Hovde Properties, which manages luxury residential and commercial properties throughout Wisconsin.

Reports from the US Department of Labor show that Hovde’s firm was initially fined nearly $6,500 in 2018 after committing four OSHA violations. The violations came after three Hovde Properties employees on a Milwaukee jobsite were exposed to ozone, a chemical that can cause serious health conditions.

OSHA said that Hovde Properties failed to assess the jobsite for ozone, failed to provide appropriate personal protective equipment for employees, failed to track and distribute safety data for contractors, and failed to educate on-site employees about potential hazardous chemicals that might pose a threat.

“Safety data sheets were not maintained for ozone by the employer at the worksite, resulting in the prolonged exposure of a contracted maintenance worker to ozone,” one report read.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ozone poses both long-term and short-term health effects to humans. A report says that prolonged ozone exposure “can cause problems breathing, trigger asthma, reduce lung function and lead to lung disease” and includes ozone among a list of five pollutants with “the strongest evidence for public health concern.”

The three Hovde Properties employees referenced by OSHA were exposed to ozone in March 2018. In August of that year, Hovde Properties paid $3,500 to settle with OSHA.

Neither Hovde Properties nor Eric Hovde himself have publicly commented on the violations.

The 59 year-old Hovde entered the Wisconsin US Senate race in February in opposition to Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who’s seeking a third term. Hovde has spent his career making millions as a businessman—not only through his work with Hovde Properties, which was founded by his grandfather in the 1930s, but through his role as CEO at multiple banking companies.

Statements on Hovde’s website point to cost of living, immigration, health care, and foreign policies as his main areas of concern. Earlier this month, his candidacy was endorsed by former president Donald Trump.


  • Sophie Boudreau

    Sophie Boudreau is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience covering lifestyle, culture, and political topics. She previously served as senior editor at eHow and produced Michigan and Detroit content for Only In Your State.

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