1997

1997 issues of The Advocate

<a href="page10.htm"></a>New England Fleet subsidiary in hot water over unfair lending practices, settles case for $113,500

Fleet Financial Group will pay $133,500 including attorneys' fees in yet another settlement of complaints that one of its subsidiaries violated fair housing and fair lending laws. Last year, Fleet paid $4 million to settle Justice Department complaint s in New York and New Jersey (see June 1996 Advocate). This time the complaints came against Shawmut Bank and Shawmut Mortgage Corporation. Fleet purchased Shawmut after complaints were filed by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association. The settlement was reached after the U.S.

Manhattan jury awards $25,000 to divorced father in first case under New York family status law

Last November, a jury in Manhattan, New York awarded $25,000 to Mauro Filicori, a tenant who claimed that his landlord, Marguerite Jossel, discriminated against him because he had a young daughter. Filicori filed his suit under New York's Real Propert y Law Section 236, a statute which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of family status.

Federal judge rules that insurance redlining is covered by the Fair Housing Act in Missouri case

In a recent ruling that will undoubtedly help fair housing organizations in their fight against insurance redlining, Federal District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. said that Section 804 (b) of the Fair Housing Act does cover the underwriting of homeowners insurance. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by 12 African-American residents of Kansas City, Missouri against 22 insurance companies doing business in Missouri. The plaintiffs claim that the companies illegally discriminated against Black homeowners in the inner city.

HOME wins $15,000 in two separate racial discrimination complaints in upstate New York

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in Buffalo and the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP will share in a $7,500 racial discrimination settlement that was reached in January. The settlement resolved a case handled by the Western New York U.S. Attorney's office against Elmer Wilson and his wife, property owners from Corfu, New York.

Second Circuit upholds $133,000 award in New York

The Second Circuit has affirmed a $133,000 jury award given to an interracial couple after a landlord refused to rent to them. The couple was originally awarded $280,000, but the trial judge ordered a retrial because he fond such a high award "sh ocked the judicial conscience." A second jury reduced the emotional distress award to $101,000 but complied with the first jury's $32,000 award for punitive damages.

Hispanic tenants in California win $440,000 in settlement of race, national origin, and family claims

Pedro Diaz and other tenants from an Isla Vista, California apartment complex recently won $440,000 from the bank that owned the building and the real estate company that managed it. Diaz was the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that alleged both companies were guilty of race, national origin, and familial status discrimination, all violations of the federal Fair Housing Act.

Advocate circulation goes to 20,000

The National Fair Housing Advocate has received a grant from HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) to expand our circulation from 10,000 to 20,000 readers nationwide. We hope to add 500 names per month for the next 18 months. Please help us by sending names or by referring people to us. We are especially interested in increasing our circulation to people in the real estate industry and to disability rights groups. Fax or mail names to:

National Fair Housing Advocate

835 W. Jefferson St. #100

Fair Housing Resources

Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. (BNI) has published The BNI Experience in Enforcing Provisions of the Fair Housing Amendments Act Regarding People with Disabilities: The Lessons Learned, a 53-page report of BNI's investigation of the accessibilit y of new buildings in the Baltimore area. BNI surveyed 59 new complexes and found that 44 of them (75%) were in violation of the Fair Housing Act's accessibility requirements.

New York lender settles Justice Department mortgage suit

To settle Justice Department claims of lending discrimination, Albank, a New York-based thrift, agreed to provide $55 million in discounted mortgage loans to minority applicants in August. Albank will also contribute $700,000 to a home ownership counseling program, and advertise their mortgage loans and other banking products in minority areas. The August settlement agreement will cost Albank about $9 million.

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