1994

1994 issues of The Advocate

DOJ and Lending Discrimination: Vicksburg, MS Bank Pays $800,000, Blackpipe Bank in SD Pays $124,000

Attorney General Janet Reno announced that the Justice Department had entered into settlements in January with two banks that discriminated against minorities in lending. Under the agreements, a Mississippi bank will pay $800,000 in fines and damages for charging Blacks higher interest rates than whites on home improvement loans.

Clinton Administration Provides Leadership in FHEO, But Five Key Reality Questions Remain

The year of 1994 has begun with Fair Housing receiving long-awaited attention from the Federal Government.

President Clinton issued an executive order on January 17 affirmatively furthering the goals of Fair Housing. This was accompanied by a memorandum for the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, which established a new Cabinet-level organization, and the Fair Housing Council, to focus the cooperative efforts of all agencies on fair housing.

Miami: Race Discrimination on An Answering Machine

Other than the now famous LA. police beating of Rodney King, it is rare for race discrimination to be captured on tape. And it seldom happens in fair housing cases. But when Alvaner Silva and Giseli Henrique returned to their Miami Beach apartment with a Brazilian house guest on April 6, 1993, they were greeted by a strange message on their telephone answering machine.

Their landlady, Mrs.

"Christian Handyman" Ad Costs $8,000

West Bend - Apartment for rent, 1 bedroom, electric included, mature Christian handyman.

When she placed this for-rent ad in the Hartford Tunes Press in December 1990, Beverly Schnell never imagined she would wind up in court with almost $8,000 in legal bills and fines.

The ad caught the attention of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, a non-profit organization.

In Third Order, After Two HUD Secretary Remands, ALJ Streb Orders $95, 600 Damages for Utah Black Woman

After prior dismissals were twice "set aside" by the HUD Secretary, a Salt Lake City Black woman has been awarded $95,600, because of discrimination in the rental of a home. Complainant Ms. Bobbie Burris alleged discrimination by Jess and Barbara Alyett.  Ms. Burris and the owners completed the rent-subsidy documents but they rented to Joe Trujillo, a light skinned person whose race was not identified.

Ms. Burris complained that the Alyetts violated Section 805(c) of the Fair Housing Act when Barbara Aylett told Bobbie Burris "My husband will never rent to a Black person." Ms.

Baltimore: Jury Awards $2 Million in White Models Case

A Baltimore City jury, in December, awarded over $2 million in damages against a real estate developer that used exclusively white human models in its advertisements over a three-year period. The verdict, believed to be the largest ever for discriminatory advertising, was awarded to Kim Fenwick-Schafer, an African American woman who was looking to buy a house in 1989, and Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc., a nonprofit fair housing organization, against Winchester Homes, Inc., which was the third largest developer in the Baltimore area in the late 1980's.

According to Andrew D.

Sara Pratt Named FHEO Director of Investigations

Summit attendees followed closely the comments on state and local equivalency from Sara Pratt who was named Director of Investigations in HUD's Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office, in December.

Her appointment by Roberta Achtenberg adds an attorney with extensive fair housing experience in state and local enforcement, and private litigation in Kentucky.

Speaking at the workshop on Fair Housing Enforcement, Pratt said "There have been problems with some agencies." She said HUD is concerned and is providing technical assistance to improve agency performance.

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