Chicago, IL

Shell sued for race bias at gas stations

September 17, 1998
The note posted behind the counter at the gas station was written in Urdu, so customers were not likely to understand it.
     But an employee of the Shell station in Chicago understood and told a Chicago police officer that the sign read, ``Do not release for blacks -- first get the money.''
     That was the first link in a chain of events that led to the filing of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Wednesday.
     The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages and an end to what it called a nationwide pattern of discrimination, was filed by Daron Hill, a black Chicago police officer who had learned of the note.
     ``I thought it was disgusting,'' said Hill. 

Chicago sues landlord for bias against children

August 20, 1998
When city worker Timothy Novak and his wife, Susan, faced eviction from their Northwest Side apartment just before Christmas, 1996, they began searching for a new home for themselves and their four kids.
     Many landlords rejected them, including Felix Padlan, owner of a three-bedroom apartment for rent in the 8600 block of Foster Avenue.
     Now the City of Chicago is taking Padlan to court, accusing him of violating the city's fair housing ordinance by discriminating against the Novaks on the basis of parental status.
     In a lawsuit filed this week, city lawyers asked a Cook County Circuit judge to enforce a 1997 ruling by the city Human Relations Commission, which ordered Padlan to pay $21,033 plus interest to compensate the Novaks.
     It is believed to be the first time the city has filed suit to force a landlord to comply with a commission order in a case involving parental status discrimination. 

Regulators hear objections to BancOne merger

August 13, 1998
A panel of federal banking regulators considering a proposed $29.8 billion merger between First Chicago NBD Corp. and Banc One Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, heard allegations Thursday that Banc One's lending practices discriminate against minorities.
     ``Low- and moderate-income groups, blacks and Latinos are not treated well by Banc One,'' said Michael Shea, executive director for the Chicago-based Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
     The Federal Reserve Board must approve the proposed merger before it is presented to shareholders' meetings, scheduled for September 15.
     The merger would create the largest financial institution in the Midwest and the nation's fifth-largest bank with assets of $230 billion. 

Family files suit over racially motivated HIV test

July 31, 1998
It began on a summer day with two boys from a dayschool program playing at a public pool in suburban Wheaton. The two -- one white, one black -- shared a snorkel.
      Two years later, the black boy and his mother are suing the program, saying its organizers pressured them into having the child tested for HIV and strep throat after the white boy's mother learned of the shared snorkel.
      The federal lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses Wheaton-based Outreach Community Ministries of racial discrimination, and says the group's officials broke state law by releasing the HIV test results to the other mother.

Judge OKs Merrill Lynch gender settlement

June 19, 1998
As many as 2,500 women will be told they might be eligible for compensation from Merrill Lynch & Co. now that a federal judge has given preliminary approval to a settlement in a gender discrimination lawsuit.
      Eight female financial consultants sued the nation's largest brokerage firm in February 1997, claiming the company unfairly directed business to their male colleagues. The women won class-action status and represented 2,500 current and former brokers in the lawsuit.
      In a conference call with lawyers from both sides Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo said, ``This (settlement) document easily, easily meets the criteria for preliminary approval, and so I am happy to give it preliminary approval today.''

Leadership Council finds high degree of segregation remains

February 23, 1998
The Chicago area remains highly segregated despite signs of progress in fair housing and increased diversity in a few communities, according to a report released Feb. 23 by the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities in Chicago.
     "Many people don't even realize that segregation is an issue in the Chicago metropolitan area," said Aurie Pennick, president and CEO of the Leadership Council. "Just because the Ku Klux Klan isn't marching every week and a few African Americans live on the North Shore doesn't mean we have achieved housing equality. This study is proof of continued inequality."

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