Kentucky Commission resolves race, disability cases

In October, Suzanne Baker, an African-American woman living in Pike County, Kentuckysettled two complaints filed with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Baker allegedthat four Pike County landlords refused to rent to her because of her race.

Womanfound discrimination in two towns
Greg and Sonya May of Raccoon, Kentucky allegedly lied to Baker about the availability ofa rental unit they owned. The Mays told Baker that the property in question had beenrented even though it had not been. An investigation by the Kentucky Commission's stafffound probable cause to believe the discriminatory acts had occurred. The Mays settled thecomplaint for $2,500.

Baker filed a similar complaint with the Commission against Ruth and William Canada ofPikeville, Kentucky. The Canadas agreed to settle Baker's claim for $3,000.

Elsewhere in Kentucky, the Les Manor Apartments in Owensboro, agreed to makeimprovements to a disabled man's apartment to settle his claim of disabilitydiscrimination.

Henry Monroe claimed that Les Manor discriminated against him because heis disabled. He claimed that the complex would not let him make reasonable modificationsto his apartment as allowed by law.

New $50,000,000 and Counting report from FHC-Detroit givesbreakdown of housing settlements
The Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHC-Detroit) recently released $50,000,000and Counting, its latest report detailing the monetary successes of the nation'sprivate fair housing groups. FHC-Detroit reports that 74 fair housing agencies assistedplaintiffs in 623 closed cases of housing discrimination between January 1, 1990 andDecember 31, 1996. The complainants in those cases received more than $50 million insettlements and judgments.

50,000,000 and Counting is the third report that FHC-Detroit has prepared forthe National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and its member groups. FHC-Detroit's twoprevious reports, $20,000 and Counting and $30,000 and Counting, werepublished with cutoff dates of December 31, 1994 and December 31, 1995, respectively.These reports have been widely circulated and have helped provide a basis for manysettlements in housing discrimination cases.

FHC-Detroit's latest report shows that 759 of the 815 cases (93 percent)handled by NFHA member groups had favorable outcomes for the complainants. Of those caseswith favorable outcomes, 623 had a disclosed

FHC-Detroit's Michael Olshan compiles the data for the annual report onsettlements and judgments for NFHA.
financial recovery of $57,716,623, an average of $92,643 per case. The remaining 136 caseswere settled in the complainants' favor, but terms were not disclosed because ofconfidentiality agreements. The report, which was released at NFHA's 1997 annualconference, also reported that 71 percent of all assisted fair housing lawsuits, both openand closed, have included testing evidence from NFHA member groups. The report noted,"Without the evidence made available through testing, most complainants would haveinsufficient evidence available to successfully litigate their cases."

NFHA Board President praises report
NFHA Board President Constance Chamberlain commented on the report, "We live in asociety in which money speaks volumes, and money going to individuals and families whohave been denied housing is one way of compensating them, at least partially, for thewrongs that have been done." She later added, "While it may sometimes seem as ifthe problem of housing discrimination is insurmountable, $50,000,000 and Countingshows that all of the separate efforts add up to an impressive total and a major force forchange."

Michael Olshan, FHC-Detroit's Legal Services Coordinator, gathered the data for theproject as he has done for the two previous reports. Special Computer Consultant NigelHinds, Coordinator of Computer Services Tim Davis, and Laura Graham helped finish thereport and put it in its final form.