Miami, FL

Florida AG intervenes in Cornerstone suit

January 28, 2008
The Florida Attorney General's Office said it intervened in a lawsuit filed by a man with AIDS who alleges Cornerstone Residential Management Co. barred him from renting an apartment because of his illness.
     Cornerstone had argued Techler Dugoirand's case should be thrown out because he did not file a claim with an administrative agency first, however, the attorney general's office and the Miami-Dade County Attorney's Office argued that a long-standing fair housing precedent protects the rights of housing discrimination victims to go straight to court.

Apartment developer probed over discrimination claims

August 01, 2007
When Donna Weissinger's marriage collapsed in 2003, she and three of her children found themselves living in their car and on friends' couches.
     Her attorney says it didn't have to be that way, and filed a civil lawsuit against a developer of apartment housing, alleging the company refused to rent a three-bedroom affordable apartment built with tax breaks because Weissinger had too many kids. The case is pending.

Records reveal major lobbying campaign at HUD by Abramoff

December 12, 2006
Last spring, as the fallout from disgraced super lobbyist Jack Abramoff's January guilty plea swirled through Washington, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the agency was unaware of any lobbying Abramoff had done there.
     Now, though, e-mail and billing records turned over to a congressional committee by Greenberg Traurig, the Miami-based firm that employed Abramoff, say that Abramoff and others conducted a coordinated lobbying campaign at HUD in 2002-03 on behalf of Michigan's Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe.
     The campaign involved lobbying contacts with at least three high-ranking HUD officials, including current HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, the records say.

Ads offer to swap rent for sex

March 19, 2006
Upscale executive seeks beautiful female 18-24 to live in his luxury condo in Coral Gables for $1/month in exchange for some light duties. Help take care of dog, cook occasionally. Sex 2x/week. Serious inquires only. Please email a picture for consideration.
     The Coral Gables man who offered that startling pitch in a recent posting on the popular website is among a growing pool of men who routinely seek sexual favors in the room-for-rent section of Internet ads.

South Floridians who overcame share experiences

January 01, 2005
Many saw it as their duty. Others helped reluctantly -- at least at first. Ultimately they each embraced the idea that changes were necessary to bring equal access and better living conditions to black Americans.
     Dedicated activists, college students and working-class people spearheaded the modern-day civil rights movement -- roughly defined by the series of historic events that occurred between 1954 and 1970.
     During this turbulent period, some of them endured threats of physical violence and risked going to jail.

Martinez, Castor win nominations in Fla.

September 01, 2004
Former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez scrapped and scraped his way to a surprisingly easy victory Tuesday in the bare-knuckle Republican U.S. Senate primary, while Democrat Betty Castor surprised no one by sauntering into her party's nomination.
     Martinez defied pollsters who predicted a dead-even race as he enthralled voters with a faith-based, only-in-America story of a Cuban refugee who went on to work in the White House.
     But his last-minute barrage of attacks against main rival Bill McCollum began to undermine his nice-guy image.
     It may have been unnecessary -- judging by his comfortable margin of victory -- and might prove damaging in a general election campaign.
     McCollum withheld his endorsement Tuesday night.
     And Martinez's conservative views on gay rights and abortion leave Castor and her allies with plenty of potentially jarring quotes that could be swiftly turned into Democratic campaign propaganda.

Children's bias suit settled in Florida

August 02, 2004
A Florida apartment complex will pay $70,000 to four families to settle allegations it discriminated against children, the Justice Department said Monday.
     The department sued the owner of the South Bank Apartments in Fort Lauderdale under the Fair Housing Act.
     The suit alleged the owner violated the act by refusing to rent to families with children and pressuring pregnant women and families with children to leave the building.

Muslims face new wave of harrassment

July 26, 2004
As a spokeswoman for an Islamic civil-rights organization in central Florida, it's not unusual for Areej Zufari to appear on television news shows to talk about hate crimes and other issues affecting the Muslim community. But she wasn't prepared for what happened after a recent interview on national TV.
     After appearing on Fox News and local television in Orlando and urging Americans not to blame Muslims for the beheading of American businessman Nicholas Berg by Al-Qaida-linked militants in Iraq in May, Zufari became a victim of the hate she had tried to discourage.
     Two men confronted her inside a gas station's convenience store in Orlando, spewing out a string of vulgarities and sexually inappropriate remarks.

Bias suit settled for $90,000

March 20, 2004
A disabled man who was rejected when he tried to buy a Hallandale Beach condo won a $90,000 federal settlement Friday.
     Envoy Apartments Association, 455 Golden Isles Dr., broke the federal Fair Housing Act by asking Edward Dresner to provide more documentation than they typically ask of other applicants, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement.
     Dresner, who suffered from unspecified physical and mental disabilities that fall under the Fair Housing Act's description, wanted to buy unit 302 of the 29-unit complex in January 2002.

Gay men lose challenge to Fla. adoption ban

January 28, 2004
Four gay men lost a federal challenge Wednesday to the only blanket state law banning homosexuals from adopting children, a statute passed at the height of Anita Bryant's anti-homosexual campaign.
     The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the men, who are foster parents seeking to adopt children in their care despite the 1977 law.
     "Obviously we're crushed," said Paul Cates with the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.
     Gov Jeb Bush said he was "pleased" by the ruling. It validates Florida's contention "that it is in the best interest of adoptive children, many of whom come from troubled and unstable backgrounds, to be placed in a home anchored both by a father and a mother," he said in a statement.


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