Chicago, IL

Mid America Bank settles redlining suit out of court

December 30, 2002
Mid America Bank agreed Monday to invest more than $10 million and open two new branches in minority neighborhoods to settle a discrimination lawsuit.
      The United States Attorney's Office said Monday's agreement resolves allegations that Mid America violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
      They're accused of failing to market and provide their services in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods in a practice known as redlining.

University settles suit alleging bias

December 03, 2002
St. Cloud State University agreed today to pay more than $300,000 in damages, send its entire faculty and staff to diversity training and alter its hiring practices to settle a class action lawsuit alleging systematic discrimination against Jews.
     The university, Minnesota's second-largest, has 15,000 students on a campus about 75 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Under the terms of the settlement, it also must create a new Jewish Studies and Resources Center, hire a coordinator to teach classes there, and provide approximately $125,000 in funding for the next five years. The university also agreed to create a peer review process that will be available in all faculty retention, tenure or promotion disputes.
     Three current or former professors will receive payments of as much as $165,000 each. In addition, a sum of $50,000 will be divided among faculty members who are Jewish or who filed a charge of discrimination or retaliation related to anti-Semitism over the past three school years. 

HUD not to require terrorism insurance on FHA loans 

October 22, 2002
Reassuring the housing industry that HUD will not follow the lead of many private insurance companies, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez announced today that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will not require insurance coverage against acts of terrorism as a condition of its multifamily mortgage insurance.
     "Our policy will result in reduced costs for existing and future FHA-insured multifamily properties, and will continue to encourage the construction of new projects," Martinez told the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBAA).
     Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, primary insurance companies began excluding or limiting coverage for acts of terrorism in catastrophic loss insurance policies, including policies that cover multifamily properties. Where such coverage is available, costs are exorbitant, terms are restrictive, and coverage limits are low. 

Household to pay $484M in predatory lending case

October 11, 2002
Household International, one of the nation's biggest lenders to people with bad credit, said Friday it will pay up to $484 million to settle claims it duped tens of thousands of mostly poor home buyers across the country with hidden and unnecessary costs. 
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and other officials said it was the biggest settlement ever in a predatory lending case. 
     Household did not admit to any wrongdoing, but apologized and agreed to new lending practices and better monitoring of real estate loans. 
     Officials from 19 states and Washington, D.C., had accused Household of misrepresenting loan terms and keeping cost information from home buyers. They said many borrowers lost their homes or came close to losing them because their monthly payments were higher than expected. 

Bias seen in child abuse reporting

October 02, 2002
Black and Hispanic children hospitalized with broken bones suffered in accidents are far more likely than white youngsters to be checked for child abuse, a study found.
     The findings suggest that some doctors may be unfairly suspicious of minorities and are overlooking actual abuse among whites, the researchers said.
     The researchers said the findings bolster suspicions that abuse among white children is underdiagnosed. They said it also points to another area of medicine where racial disparities and possible bias may affect health care. 

Civil rights activist, Julia Fairfax, dead at 97 

September 20, 2002
Julia Fairfax, whose West Side mansion served as the local headquarters for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the planning of Chicago civil rights marches, as a dining room for Black Panther Party free breakfasts, and as a bastion of black Republicanism in Chicago, died Monday, September 9, in Norwegian-American Hospital, Chicago.
     She was 97 and died of complications from an accident at a polling place during the primary election, said Babette Peyton, a longtime family friend Mrs. Fairfax often introduced as a granddaughter. Mrs. Fairfax had been an election judge, she said.
     Mrs. Fairfax was frank about such duties and about being an African-American in the Republican Party. 

Masters and CBS facing serious discrimination issues

September 18, 2002
Tiger Woods' quest for three straight Masters titles appeared to be a great story line for next year's tournament. Now it looks like a sidebar.
     If the controversy over the lack of women members at Augusta National is hot in September, imagine what it will be like in April after it has been microwaved in the media for seven months. Only one thing seems certain: The story seems destined to take on a life of its own, if it hasn't already.
     "I'd kill for this kind of publicity for some of my other issues," said Martha Burk, chairwoman for the National Council of Women's Organizations, who finds herself in constant demand for interviews these days. 

EEOC sues UPS for ADA violation

September 05, 2002
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Thursday accused United Parcel Service of discriminating against an employee with diabetes for failing to reassign him when he was no longer able to drive a truck.
    The EEOC sued the shipping giant, alleging that UPS violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     Atlanta-based UPS denied the allegations and said it would fight the lawsuit.
     After being diagnosed with diabetes in the summer of 1998, the driver could no longer retain the commercial license needed to drive a UPS truck. The company failed to reassign the employee to vacant nondriving positions for which he was qualified, in violation of the disabilities act, the EEOC said. 

Club cancels Palestinian comic

August 28, 2002
A comedian scheduled to open for Jewish comic Jackie Mason was told hours before the show he couldn't perform because he is Palestinian, Mason's manager said.
      Ray Hanania was supposed to open for Mason on Tuesday night at Zanie's comedy club in Chicago, but the club phoned him a few hours before to tell him his act was canceled.
      Mason denied on Wednesday having anything to do with the move, saying the club had received phone calls protesting the appearance of a Palestinian comic. "I have nothing but love in my heart for Palestinians. " Mason said.

Paying the price

July 18, 2002
Three years ago Mark Diamond showed up on Goldie Johnson's doorstep promising to save her money. And she's still paying the price.
      Johnson needed $800 dollars to fix her kitchen floor. So she refinanced her home with Diamond's company. What she got was a mortgage payment $400 dollars higher than her old one, with a final lump sum payment of $80,000 dollars that comes due when she's 86 years old. Like millions of Americans Johnson fell prey to the hidden fees and terms of predatory lenders.
      "When you're afraid that you gonna lose the home that you have, even though it's not much to some people, but it means a hell of a lot to me," she told CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers. 

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