Dallas, TX

Suit alleges Dallas firm put black homeowners at higher risk of foreclosure

August 19, 2016
Dallas equity firm Lone Star Funds is being sued by a group of black homeowners in New York who allege the company pushed them toward foreclosure by misleading them about their mortgages.
     A 53-year-old plaintiff told a federal court that the company's mortgage servicer would call him almost every day -- sometimes two or three times a day -- threatening foreclosure and pressuring him to accept an unfavorable change to his loan.
     Lone Star's mortgage servicer, Caliber Home Loans, disputed the allegations and called the lawsuit "without merit."
     The federal suit filed last week also targets the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. At issue is the agency's sale of delinquent mortgages backed by the federal government to private investors like Lone Star.

Helpful hint from Julian Castro on how to desegregate the park cities

July 29, 2015
So excited earlier this month. We read that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and his boss, the president, are not the pushovers on fair housing we thought they were. Not anymore. Apparently, now they’re tough.
     Nine months ago it was looking pretty sad here. That’s when Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, was just taking the reins at HUD. Practically the first thing he did when he got into the office was gut a four-year federal housing investigation of Dallas.
     After schmoozing with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Castro kicked the pins from under his own HUD fair housing staff. They thought they had compiled a bullet-proof case against Dallas for misusing HUD money over the span of a decade to fund a sub rosa program of deliberate racial segregation.
     Nobody ever explained why a four-year probe and a tough letter of findings wound up in the circular file, but, anyway, who cares now? Castro and President Obama have unveiled a brand-new, get-tough, no-more-schmoozing, no more Mr. Nice Guy policy on fair housing. They say they will use super sophisticated new high-tech techniques to sleuth out racially segregated communities and then marshal various federal resources to work to overcome those patterns.

Texas apartment group joins disparate impact challenge

November 30, 2014
Texas Apartment Association is joining a challenge to the Fair Housing Act and the government’s use of the controversial disparate impact doctrine in housing.
     TAA’s amicus curiae brief in the case of Texas Dept. of Housing vs. Inclusive Communities argues that the text and history of the law confirm that it does not allow disparate impact claims, but instead authorizes only claims based on intentionally discriminatory conduct.
     “TAA goes on to explain that construing the Fair Housing Act to permit disparate-impact claims would impose severe consequences—unintended by Congress—on routine decision-making by housing providers. Sutherland represents TAA in the matter,” according to an analysis from jdsupra.com.

Dallas, HUD resolve housing discrimination case

November 05, 2014
The city of Dallas and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reached an agreement Wednesday in a housing discrimination case that had threatened to cost the city tens of millions of dollars.
     Dallas will not have to pay the federal agency or the developers who in 2010 accused the city of discrimination when it refused to subsidize the redevelopment of a downtown high-rise, according to the terms.
     “The city admits no wrongdoing, pays no money to HUD, and gives no relief or money to 1600 Pacific Building, LP,” the city said in a prepared statement.
     City Manager A.C. Gonzalez said Wednesday night that the resolution shows that while there are “always improvements to be made, we have been a good partner with HUD and are helping to improve our housing conditions throughout the city.”

Trans woman settles housing case

August 01, 2014
A transgender woman and her partner have settled a lawsuit alleging unfair housing practices by an Athens RV park owner.
     The Cedar Creek Lake-area couple say they are not happy with the settlement and that the Department of Justice pressured them to accept $4,000 to settle the suit.
     The case was based on an Obama Administration interpretation of nondiscrimination law that includes the transgender community in the definition of gender discrimination.
     Roxann Joganik and her partner, Darlina Anthony, charged that when George Toone took over the RV park they lived in, he evicted them because of Joganik’s gender identity.

Dallas joins cities included in fair-housing complaint against bank

March 11, 2014
Fair-housing advocates have included Dallas among the cities where it says U.S. Bank has failed to maintain real estate and market foreclosed homes that are for sale in minority neighborhoods.
     In a federal discrimination complaint, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the North Texas Fair Housing Center, along with several other groups in various cities, say the bank has neglected its responsibility to maintain yards and houses.
     An investigation of 26 Dallas-area homes where U.S. Bank was listed as the owner of record showed a vast majority of the homes had accumulated leaves and trash, the center said. A quarter of the properties had signs that showed they were for sale. The homes are in Oak Cliff, Pleasant Grove and areas around southern and eastern Dallas County. A few are in Collin County.
     “U.S. Bank has failed Dallas residents by not maintaining REO properties and contributing to neighborhood blight,” said Frances Espinoza, executive director of the North Texas Fair Housing Center. “U.S. Bank should step up and repair the damage it has done to our communities.”

HUD finally stirs on housing discrimination

December 09, 2013
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has accused Dallas, one of the nation's largest cities, of violating civil rights law through housing practices that discriminated against black, Latino and disabled residents.
     #HUD officials laid out the results of a four-year investigation in a letter sent to city leaders late last month. HUD found that Dallas, which accepted tens of millions in federal dollars with promises of using that money to help integrate the deeply divided city, had instead "subjected persons to segregation" and "restricted access to housing choice." The city, the letter said, had denied local residents opportunities to participate in housing programs "because of race, national origin and disability."
     The agency has given the city 30 days to respond to the accusations, which jeopardize millions in annual HUD funding.

HUD: Dallas affordable-housing practices break civil rights laws

December 03, 2013
Dallas officials promote discrimination against minorities and the disabled through affordable-housing practices that violate federal civil rights laws, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation has found.
     According to a 29-page letter outlining the initial findings, “the evidence shows that there was a pattern of negative reactions to projects that would provide affordable housing in the northern sector of Dallas and that those decisions were inconsistent with the goals required by HUD program obligations.”
     City Council member Scott Griggs, vice chairman of the council housing committee, said the HUD letter confirms the long-standing image of Dallas as a city divided between a northern sector for better-off people who can pay market-rate rents and a southern sector for low-income people who need rent subsidies.

Texas builder must pay millions to fund more accessibility

June 25, 2012
The Justice Department settled a $10.5 million disability claims lawsuit Monday against an Irving-based construction company and six affiliated companies.
     The agreement requires JPI Constructions to pay a $250,000 civil penalty in addition to $10.25 million into an accessibility fund to provide retrofits at properties it built and to increase the stock of accessible housing in the communities where those properties are located.
     Federal officials said this is the largest civil penalty the Justice Department has obtained in any Fair Housing Act case, according to a Justice Department news release.
     

DOJ reaches settlement in fair housing act suit

January 13, 2011
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with Warren Properties Inc., which manages 85 properties with more than 11,000 housing units in 15 states, including a number of properties in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
     The case involved a person with a mobility impairment who asked to move to a first floor apartment. The request was denied and the individual was hurt when he fell down the stairs.
     Under the agreement, the defendants must pay $1,195,000 to compensate the tenant, along with an additional $55,000 in fees and costs to the government.
     

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