Denver, CO

Housing groups accuse US Bank of racial discrimination

November 06, 2014
he National Fair Housing Alliance along with the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center have accused U.S. Bank of racial discrimination.
     The civil rights groups allege that US Bank fails to maintain and market bank-owned foreclosures in African American and Latino neighborhoods to the same standard as in White neighborhoods, a practice that violates the federal Fair Housing Act.
     FOX31 visited a US Bank foreclosed home in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, where 75 perent of the residents area minorities. The house, located on Randolph Place, has been in foreclosure since last year but there wasn’t even a For Sale sign when we paid a visit. The back door wasn’t locked, the back and front yard were littered with trash and beer cans could be seen left on the floor of the living room, plus one upstairs window had been left wide open.

UDR Inc. sued for housing discrimination against the disabled

September 11, 2012
Civil-rights organizations have filed a federal lawsuit against Highlands Ranch-based UDR Inc., alleging housing discrimination against people with disabilities.
     The National Fair Housing Alliance and the North Texas Fair Housing Center focused their investigation on three recent housing developments in the Dallas area and found each to be in violation of the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.
     UDR, formerly known as United Dominion Realty Trust, is one of the largest multifamily housing developers and managers in the United States. It has more than 150,000 residents in 200 apartment complexes across the country.
     

HUD says Windsor Gardens retirement community in Denver wrong to ban teens

July 16, 2010
After three years of investigation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week filed a complaint against Colorado's oldest retirement community, claiming it was in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
     HUD alleges Denver's Windsor Gardens, at 595 S. Clinton St. in southeast Denver, violated the act by advertising itself as a community for people 50 and older from which residents under age 17 were prohibited. The complaint also claims the community's homeowners association did not properly verify the ages of its residents.
     "They advertised in a way that violated the law," said Bryan Greene, HUD assistant secretary for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "You cannot operate a community as 50 or older."
     Under the Fair Housing Act, the magic number for legally disallowing residents with children is 55, and until late December 2009, Windsor Gardens' advertising and governing documents said residents had to be 50 or older.
     Nancy Barke, general manager of Windsor Gardens Association, called the complaint an interpretation issue.
     

Colo. subprime loans soar in '06

November 07, 2007
An increased number of subprime loans were made to Colorado residents in 2006, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Colorado attorney general's office.
     The report tallied lending activity for three kinds of subprime loans: traditional supervised loans, deferred- deposit or payday loans, and small installment loans.
     Loans in which the annual percentage rate is more than 12 percent are classified as "subprime," with some falling under the auspices of the attorney general's office.
     Attorney General John Suthers called the increases "disconcerting."
     "More people are borrowing more money at high rates than ever before," he said.

Legal victory for domestic-violence victims

March 02, 2007
Wyneneicka Blackwell was raped, beaten and stabbed by her ex-boyfriend one night in her Denver apartment. He evaded police for months and, fearing his return, Blackwell asked her landlord to move her out of her federally subsidized low-income unit into a different complex.
     Her landlord refused and also wouldn't clean up her blood-smeared apartment after her nine-hour ordeal.

Woman faces fines for wreath peace sign

November 26, 2006
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
     Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
     "Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up you have to let them all go up," he said in a telephone interview Sunday.
     Lisa Jensen said she wasn't thinking of the war when she hung the wreath. She said, "Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing."
     Jensen, a past association president, calculates the fines will cost her about $1,000, and doubts they will be able to make her pay. But she said she's not going to take it down until after Christmas.

Suit: Disabled parents illegally barred from housing

June 28, 2006
Disabled parents face discrimination when they seek affordable housing in Englewood and Littleton, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday.
     The Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition sued the Englewood and Littleton housing authorities, alleging the agencies wouldn't allow single parents with disabilities who have at least one child to rent apartments reserved for the elderly or for people with disabilities - a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
     Attorney Lee E. Applegate, who represents the housing authorities, Tuesday afternoon said she hadn't received a copy of the complaint and wanted to read it before commenting.
     The lawsuit seeks court-ordered changes in policies for both housing authorities and unspecified damages for the plaintiffs and attorney's fees.

Kmart enters landmark settlement of nationwide disability access suit

March 13, 2006
Fox & Robertson, a firm of Denver civil rights attorneys, announced it has settled a nationwide class action lawsuit filed to resolve disability access issues at Kmart stores.
     Under the terms of the settlement, Kmart will survey and bring all of its stores nationwide into compliance with Department of Justice Standards over a seven and a half year period following court approval, and will institute policies to ensure access to merchandise, counters, restrooms, fitting rooms and parking. Kmart has also agreed to pay $13 million in damages.
     The lawsuit was filed in 1999 but was delayed during Kmart's bankruptcy proceedings. During those proceedings Kmart's top management team was replaced, and the settlement was reached with Kmart's new management. The case has been pending in federal district court in Denver, before Judge John Kane, with whom the settlement papers were filed today.
     "This settlement ensures that people with disabilities can shop at Kmart just like anyone else," said Carrie Ann Lucas, one of three people who originally brought the complaint. "It also shows that Kmart values all of its customers and wants to do what it takes to make sure we can shop at their stores."
     Ms. Lucas and the other plaintiffs filed suit under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Archstone-Smith announces settlement of litigation

June 09, 2005
Archstone-Smith today entered into a full and final settlement of litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland with three national disability organizations and agreed to capital improvements in a number of its communities in order to make them fully compliant with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
     The litigation, settled by this agreement, alleged lack of full compliance with certain design and construction requirements under the two federal statutes at 71 of the company's communities. As part of the settlement, the three disability organizations all recognized that Archstone-Smith had no intention to build any of its communities in a manner inconsistent with the FHA or ADA. Archstone-Smith also agreed to pay damages totaling $1.4 million, which include legal fees and costs incurred by the plaintiffs. This amount, combined with the attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the company in connection with this lawsuit, will reduce Archstone-Smith's second quarter 2005 net earnings and funds from operations (FFO) by approximately $0.02 per share. The company is seeking reimbursement for these damages and legal fees from its insurers. Archstone-Smith also reiterated its full-year FFO guidance of $1.90 - $2.00 per share, which does not include any potential insurance recoveries.

Senate OKs workplace gay-discrimination ban

April 26, 2005
The state Senate on Monday gave final approval to a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against gays and lesbians.
     Senate Bill 28 passed on a party-line vote, 18-17, as the one-vote majority Democrats defeated several Republican attempts to amend the bill.
     "It is wrong that I should be discriminated against or have a fear of losing my job because I put my partner's picture up on my desk," said Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver. "That is wrong."
     The bill, which now heads to the House, touched off a chain-reaction emotional debate last week when senators initially approved it.
     Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, D-Jefferson County, touted her belief in God as a reason to support the bill.
     Sen. Ron Teck, R-Grand Junction, followed her to the lectern to declare that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an abomination. That speech led Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, to disclose that his son is gay - an announcement that Tapia said caused him to reconsider his own outlook on homosexuality.

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