Indianapolis, IN

Co-op discriminated against disabled renter, suit claims

February 08, 2016
A daughter and care provider for her quadriplegic mother who was denied housing at a south side Indianapolis housing cooperative has sued in federal court, claiming the apartment management violated state and federal housing and anti-discrimination laws.
     Sharna McFarland claims she was sent a letter urging her to attend a mandatory new member orientation last August after she applied to rent an apartment at Grandville Cooperative. After she met with board members at the orientation session and informed them of her mother’s disability, she received a rejection letter stating “Grandview Cooperative is not handicap accessible and it will be a liability to offer you a unit that is not accommodating to everyone in the household.”
     The lawsuit filed Thursday notes Grandville is a 156-unit complex that was built and developed as affordable housing for lower-income tenants, and that its property management company, Kirkpatrick Management Co. Inc., is among the largest in Indianapolis and has a portfolio of more than 10,000 apartments.

Housing group sues Buckingham over apartment accessibility

December 11, 2012
A not-for-profit fair housing group is suing Indianapolis-based Buckingham Cos., claiming the apartment developer has ignored government rules requiring accommodations for people with physical disabilities.
     The Washington, D.C.-based National Fair Housing Alliance and two of its member groups, including the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, allege in a lawsuit filed Friday that four of Buckingham’s properties violate Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements.
     The apartment complexes listed in the suit: Providence at Old Meridian in Carmel; The Reserve at Williams Glen in Zionsville; Champion Farms Apartments at Springhurst in Louisville; and the Apartments at Grand Prairie in Peoria, Ill.

Bank of America accused of neglecting foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods

October 23, 2012
Fair housing advocates accuse one of the nation’s largest banks of discriminating against black and Latino neighborhoods in how it maintains and markets foreclosed homes.
     A coalition of fair housing agencies, including the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, made the allegations Tuesday in a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
     The coalition said it evaluated homes owned, serviced or held in trust by Bank of America in three Midwestern cities, including Indianapolis. The group said it found significant disparities in how houses in predominately non-white neighborhoods were maintained and marketed compared with houses in mostly white neighborhoods.

Woman who made racial threat gets 6-month sentence

July 21, 2011
A woman who threatened to burn down a house because two black women were moving in received a six-month prison sentence today in U.S. District Court.
     The sentencing followed a guilty plea from Cheryl Small, 48, to a charge that she violated federal fair housing laws in September 2009 by trying to intimidate the two black women from moving into a house in the 700 block of South Mount Street on Indianapolis' Westside.
     Small confessed to running out of her own home, making threats and yelling racial epithets when she saw Gloria Emerson, 55, and her daughter, Demetria Parker, 25, looking at the home on Sept. 7, 2009. She threatened to burn the house down, authorities said.

Borrowers sue over apparent loan mod mishaps

July 05, 2011
It seemed Maria Campusano's financial problems were behind her when the mortgage on her Victorian home in a Massachusetts mill town was chopped by hundreds of dollars a month.
     She soon learned that her troubles had just begun. Weeks after making her first payment under the new rate, the school district staffer began receiving past-due notices, documents showing wildly inaccurate loan balances and letters threatening foreclosure. She now fears she'll lose her home.
     "How can they take away what I have worked so hard for?" Campusano said.
     Campusano is one of two named plaintiffs in a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging breach of contract by Bank of America NA and subsidiary BAC Home Loans Servicing LP.
     

3Mass resident sues developer over accessibility

October 19, 2010
A resident of the 3Mass condo development who uses an electric wheelchair is suing the developers for failing to provide handicap accessibility to a rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Indianapolis.
     Katrina Gossett had already put down her deposit when she learned that the terrace, offering impressive skyline views, could not be accessed without climbing at least two flights of stairs, the lawsuit says. Gossett agreed to buy the condo in 2008 and moved into her fourth-floor unit in January.
     The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on Sept. 29, asks for Halakar Properties Inc., Keystone Construction Corp. and Schmidt Associates Inc. to bring the building into compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act. All three companies are based in Indianapolis. Gossett also is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney's fees.
     

Housing discrimination lawsuit targets Indy builder

August 09, 2010
A lawsuit filed in federal court in Indianapolis accuses a Pike Township builder of designing apartment complexes across the U.S. that discriminate against people with disabilities.
     SC Bodner Co., affiliate MBA Construction, both in the 6000 block of W. 62nd St., and si apartment complex owners are accused of having inaccessible building entrances, environmental controls beyond the reach-range of wheelchair users and high thresholds that make it difficult to pass between rooms.
     The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the National Fair Housing Alliance and two member organizations identifies 16 Bodner properties in eight states accused of being out of compliance with the Fair Housing Act, according to a news release.

Bill targets mortgage practices

January 16, 2008
A panel of state lawmakers Tuesday quickly approved a bill aimed at curbing home foreclosures by cracking down on predatory mortgage lenders.
     The bill would ramp up regulation of mortgage-only offices that currently operate with little regulation. It would require stringent national background checks on all appraisers and mortgage brokers. It would require lenders to provide borrowers a summary of how their adjustable-rate mortgages will "reset" to higher interest rates — and higher payments — in a few years. And it would require all lenders to protect borrowers' personal information and would increase the criminal and civil penalties for mortgage fraud.
     The proposal, Senate Bill 89, now moves to the full state Senate for consideration.
     Indiana was recently ranked ninth in the nation for the number of home foreclosures in November, according to RealtyTrac. Experts have attributed the nation's home-foreclosure and subprime-lending crisis in part to unethical lending practices by some brokers, who made mortgage loans to high-risk borrowers who could not pay when the loans reset to higher rates.
     

U.S. losing its middle-class neighborhoods

June 22, 2006
Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself.
     In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released today. It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000.

Discrimination amendment stalls eminent-domain bill

January 25, 2006
Small utilities providing sewer service to developments or subdivisions with fewer than 500 hookups would be unable to use eminent domain to seize private land under an amendment approved yesterday by the House.
     Rep. Paul Robertson, D-Depauw, introduced the amendment to House Bill 1010 to protect some homeowners in Floyd County who have been threatened with eminent domain to extend sewers.

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