1993 issues of The Advocate
A Beloit, Wisconsin African-American couple have settled a rent/purchase discrimination case for $173,000. The consent decree was entered in U S District Court in Madison, in a housing discrimination case against Fred R. Warner and Lou Jane Warner (his wife) who live in nearby Janesville.
The Beloit couple alleged that they had been discriminated against because of their race, in trying to rent, and eventually purchase a home in NW Beloit, owned by the Warners. The consent decree awarded Larry and Jewel Forrest $167,000 in damages.
In a landmark decision handed down June 11, the United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the most broadly applicable type of bias crime law. In Wisconsin v. Mitchell, the Court affirmed the constitutionality of a state criminal statute that increases the penalty levied against convicted criminals who target their victims on the basis of status - such as race, religion or sexual orientation. Currently at least 26 other states have sentence enhancement provisions that increase the penalties for underlying crimes when bias is proven.
The Fair Housing Program of the Marin Housing Center has settled a lawsuit charging sexual harassment at a San Rafael apartment complex for $39,000. In the July settlement, the plaintiff (who remains anonymous due to the nature of this case) received the award in lieu of a civil suit she filed against the apartment manager, and Sundial Broadcasting Corporation, owner of the complex.
The plaintiff contended that her civil rights were violated through, among other causes, sexual harassment.
Two suburban Detroit apartment complexes agreed to pay $350,000 in the first settlement under the Justice Department's new nationwide random testing program. The June settlement gave the department a civil penalty of $125,000, their largest ever in a housing discrimination suit. Testing by the Fair Housing Center of Metro Detroit and Justice showed the owners were refusing to rent to black applicants.
As a result of the success of the pilot program, which has produced five other Justice Department complaints in the Detroit area, James P.
By JASON DePARLESpecial to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, July 7 - Henry G. Cisneros, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has staked out a striking role: that of a Cabinet-level contrarian on the volatile question of race.
In an Administration that has been largely silent on the subject, Mr. Cisneros has gone out of his way to call racism a driving force behind many social ills, particularly urban poverty.
In a recent interview he criticized those he calls "quote, New Democrats," the party centrists being courted by President Clinton.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked for an increase to $21.4 million in the budget for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for fiscal 1994. This is an increase of $6.4 over the $15 million expected expenditure for fair housing in fiscal 1993.
The budget provides an almost 60% increase in the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. There would be an increase from $10.6 million to $16.9 million.
Achtenberg proposed a change in HUD's chain of command to recognize the assistant secretary as "the Departmental official with sole accountability for the program." Under her proposal, the assistant secretary would be given full authority to assign staff, including legal staff. FHEO staff in regional and field offices of HUD would come under her line authority.
No Swimming Under Age Three Rule Changed
HUD ALJ Samuel A. Chaitovitz found that a Florida homeowners association had violated the Fair Housing Act with a rule that excluded children under three from its swimming pool. The consent decree ordered payment of $11,400 to charging parties Robert and Ann Johnstone for loss of rental income.
The charge was issued against Harbourwood Homeowners Association of Hallandale, Florida.
A hearing officer for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has ordered a real estate agent and another person acting as an agent to pay $38,677 in damages for emotional distress for discriminating against two women with Spanish surnames.
Complainants Vicky Gonzalez and Olga Torres were law students at the University of Connecticut Law School.