Los Angeles, CA

Judge temporarily blocks owner’s intentions to the relief of tenants

August 08, 2007
The embattled tenants of The Teriton apartments can breathe easy ... for now.
     A federal judge believes tenants of the San Vicente Boulevard complex have enough evidence to move forward with a housing discrimination lawsuit against their landlord and has granted them a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking any attempts to evict them.
     Central District Court Judge George Wu ruled Monday that there was a “probability of success” and that there may have been a violation of the Fair Housing Act when the apartments’ landlord, Or Khaim Hashalom, repeatedly informed tenants and city officials that it had plans to evict those living at The Teriton and replace them with Jewish refugees from the Middle East.

'Lockdown' rules keep immigrants' kids from playing outside

November 19, 2006
The weary mother of three, wearing hand-me-down sweatpants and a faded T-shirt, nearly dropped the basket of clothes when she saw the notice on the aging apartment complex laundry door in Santa Ana.
     The thick capital letters seemed to speak directly to her: "ALL CHILDREN WILL NO LONGER BE ALLOWED TO PLAY OUTSIDE …

Clippers owner Sterling sued by DOJ for housing discrimination

August 07, 2006
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday sued Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling for housing discrimination, claiming he refused to rent apartments to blacks and families with children.
     Federal prosecutors contend that Sterling, his wife, Rochelle, and their family trust refused to rent to many prospective tenants, treated them poorly and misrepresented the availability of apartments to them in the city's Koreatown section.

Federal trial exposes the Avenues of hate

July 27, 2006
The three African-American men had just spent another evening at the Lodge, a popular gay bar in North Hollywood. It had become a ritual for 38-year-old Kenneth Kurry Wilson, his nephew, Dewayne Williams, 29, and their friend Frank Eubanks, ever since Williams moved into Highland Park, the predominantly Latino neighborhood just a jog north on Figueroa from downtown. Wilson, dressed in a yellow shirt, black jeans and his trademark black boots, was the designated driver. By the time the three men pulled up in front of Williams’ place in a two-story apartment building on Avenue 52, it was around 3:30 a.m. on a Sunday. By then, Williams was passed out drunk in the back seat of the car. Wilson went to park their ride, a gold ’84 Fleetwood Cadillac, while his nephew’s roommates helped Williams up the stairs and into his apartment.

Housing-bias suit against craigslist may have wide impact

March 26, 2006
Federal housing regulators are fielding more complaints about discriminatory ads these days — including one against Craigslist — and they say they have made the issue a priority.
     A Chicago fair-housing group sued Craigslist last month, saying the popular website ran about 100 discriminatory housing ads over a six-month period.
     Many of the ads cited in the suit were prohibitions against renters with children — a violation of the Fair Housing Act — and preferences for singles. Others noted that a rental was near a church, which could be construed as a violation of the FHA.

Users of assistance dogs leave a trail of lawsuits

July 10, 2005
Erma L. Miller struck her first blow for disability rights in 1997. She sued Coco's after one of its restaurants refused to serve her when she showed up with an assistance dog.
     Coco's settled the case, but Miller was just getting started. The Marriott hotel chain and a string of McDonald's restaurants, among other defendants, would soon feel her wrath.
     The 64-year-old Moorpark woman is behind a stack of multimillion-dollar lawsuits accusing business establishments of illegally refusing to accommodate disabled people who use assistance, or service, dogs. Miller and various relatives and associates have filed at least 21 discrimination claims in Los Angeles and San Diego, typically charging hotels, restaurants and others with "despicable" violations of civil rights laws, according to court records.
     The targets of these lawsuits deny the charges and say that behind the lofty rhetoric hangs the odor of a scam.
     They cite one case in which a federal judge found Miller's tale of outrageous mistreatment to be "totally fabricated" and "nothing more than a sham."
     Also raising their suspicions is Miller's practice of providing Rottweilers to other people, who took the dogs to businesses, got bounced and filed lawsuits.
     Then there's the involvement of Miller's notorious ex-husband, Lynn Boyd Stites.
     Stites is a disbarred lawyer who served a federal prison term for masterminding "the Alliance" insurance fraud scheme, which triggered one of the largest prosecutions of attorneys in U.S. history.

ABC pulls controversial 'Neighborhood' reality series

June 30, 2005
"Welcome to the Neighborhood," an ABC reality series that pushes hot buttons of racism and anti-homosexuality, was pulled by the network before its debut.
     The program had drawn criticism from groups claiming it risked fostering prejudice.
     In a statement Wednesday, ABC acknowledged the delicate nature of the series in which families asked to pick a new neighbor are made to expose and overcome their biases.
     "Welcome to the Neighborhood" demonstrates what happens when people are forced to "confront preconceived notions of what makes a good neighbor," the network said.

Family gets $70,000 in race, familial status settlement

May 12, 2005
The Housing Rights Center (HRC) and an aggrieved family obtained a settlement agreement with the owner of an apartment building in Pasadena, California. Plaintiffs alleged that the owner and manager discriminated against African American tenants and families with children. The case was resolved when the owners agreed to enter into a Consent Decree and paid the plaintiffs $70,000.
     The plaintiffs were an African American family consisting of one adult and two children. The family was harassed and threatened by the manager of the complex and reported that, on numerous occasions, the manager brandished a gun with the intent to intimidate them. The plaintiffs also alleged that the manager subjected them to racial epithets. Following these acts of harassment, the plaintiff-family was served with an unlawful detainer and was forced to move out of the complex.
     The plaintiff-family contacted the HRC to report the discrimination at the apartment complex. HRC and the family filed a lawsuit in federal district court, and these parties obtained a settlement in the amount of $70,000 and entry of Consent Decree and Final Order before the case was actively litigated. The Consent Decree requires the owners and their agents to attend a fair housing management training and allows HRC to monitor the property for three years.

Real estate magnate fined for contempt during fair housing litigation

December 31, 2004
Los Angeles Clippers owner and developer Donald Sterling has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 for refusing to disclose his net worth in a housing discrimination lawsuit.
     U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer ordered him to pay $9,500 to the court and $22,450 to attorneys for the Housing Rights Center.
     The organization claimed in a February 2003 federal lawsuit that Sterling attempted to chase out non-Korean tenants at two apartment buildings in the Koreatown area.

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