1998

1998 issues of The Advocate

Justice settles six accessibility claims against Pulte

The nation's largest home builder, Pulte Corporation, agreed in April to build multifamilyhousing accessible to the disabled in what Justice Department officials called a"landmark agreement" under the Fair Housing Act.

Complexes in FL, IL, and VA had flaws

According to CNN, the out-of-court agreement calls for Pulte to build accessiblehousing nationwide, compensate disabled home buyers whom they denied housing, and correctdesign flaws at six complexes in Florida, Illinois, and Virginia.

FHC San Diego wins its first family status settlement

The Fair Housing Council of San Diego settled a complaint of family status discriminationagainst two southern California landlords for $17,000. The 1997 settlement was the firstthat the Council had received as the sole plaintiff in a federal lawsuit. Beyond the cashaward, the Council received other affirmative relief items.

Civil rights attorneyChristopher Brancart filed the Council's suit against Armand and Esther Mattia, allegingthat they had violated both the federal Fair Housing Act and California's Fair Employmentand Housing Act.

Single mom wins $30,000 from California landlord

The owner of a three-bedroom rental house in Novato, California agreed to a $30,000payment to settle a federal lawsuit alleging family status discrimination in housing. TheOctober 1997 settlement resolves the complaint filed by Jennifer Becker and her10-year-old child. Becker received guidance in filing her complaint from Fair Housing ofMarin, a non-profit group in San Rafael. Scott Chang, a California civil rights attorney,represented Becker .

Becker responded to an ad for the home in a local newspaper. Shewas interested in sharing the house with another woman who also had a small child.

Banc One settles fair lending complaint in Arizona

Late last year, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and Banc One Mortgage Corporationreached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that resolved fair lending claims lodgedagainst Banc One. The December 1997 MOU creates a $5 million loan program that will helplow to moderate income home buyers. The MOU also calls for Banc One to pay $75,000 to theArizona Attorney General's Office for its investigation and its continued monitoring.

Newloan program to target Spanish speakers in Arizona town

Lexington FHC wins settlement from Nationwide

In March, the Lexington (KY) Fair Housing Council settled a suit against the Nationwide Insurance companies which alleged that Nationwide agents were engaged in a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in the sale of homeowners' insurance policies in Lexington. The suit named the Nationwide Mutual Insurance and Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Companies and employees of the Norris "Chigger" Flynn agency as defendants.

Jury finds Chicago fireman guilty of racial intimidation

In February, a federal jury found a Chicago firefighter guilty of intimidating threeAfrican-Americans in an attempt to prevent one of them from buying a house in southwesternChicago. The jury awarded the plaintiffs, two Chicago police officers and a real estateagent, $40,000 in damages. The award does not include attorneys' fees, which arerecoverable under the Fair Housing Act.

White firefighter convicted of misdemeanorassault against African-American police officer

Cincinnati landlord pays twice for discrimination

Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in Cincinnati, Ohio settled its second complaintagainst a Cincinnati landlord in October 1997, less than a year after settling the firstcomplaint. The latest settlement called for a $30,000 payment to HOME. The December 1996settlement was for $20,000. Both settlement agreements included attorneys' fees.

HOMEsued Julianne and Terence Fealey, two Ohio landlords, in 1995 after testing one of theproperties they owned and managed.

Disabled Alabama woman wins $110,000 after being denied transfer to accessible apartment

A disabled Alabama woman settled a housing discrimination complaint for $110,000 in February. The woman asserted that she had suffered at the hands of her landlord who refused to transfer her to a wheelchair-accessible apartment.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, and the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center filed suit in federal court against the owner and builder of an apartment complex. They alleged that the defendants failed to build the complex in accordance with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

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