News Stories

Off-site news items.

Mortgage company denies $6.5B settlement

January 19, 1999
A mortgage company is disputing an announcement by the Clinton administration that it has agreed to a $6.5 billion settlement of discrimination accusations.
      The head of Columbia National Inc. denied that the company, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission reached a settlement.
      Chief Executive Officer Dave Gallitano said the only agreement with HUD is to continue the company's mission to bring home mortgage loans to low-to-moderate income families.
      "The statements released by the White House and HUD are inaccurate and very misleading," Gallitano said in a statement.

Clinton announces $6.5B lending settlement

January 18, 1999
After knocking down a wall with ``therapeutic'' zeal, President Clinton used Monday's holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to announce a $6.5 billion fair housing settlement reached by enforcing a law passed days after King's death.
      Under the settlement, Columbia, Md.-based Columbia National Mortgage, will make $6 billion in home mortgage loans available over five years to minorities and low- to moderate-income families in the District of Columbia and 26 states where they did business in 1997. The company also will spend $529 million on programs designed to increase homeownership among minority and poor families.
      Columbia National was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act -- which bars discrimination in home sales and rentals -- by making too few loans to minority or low- to moderate-income families. In 1997, its loans to such borrowers totaled only $51.6 million, less than 5 percent of its volume; In 10 states, none of its loans went to minorities or the poor.
      The case was the eighth settlement negotiated by HUD to resolve alleged unfair lending practices uncovered through testing by the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission.

Mississippi Attorney General threatened by KKK

January 18, 1999
Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore said last year that he has one of the more dangerous jobs in state government, and a recent death threat proves him right.
    An Alabama Ku Klux Klan group says on its Web page that Moore deserves a death sentence for his role in the prosecution of an old civil rights case.
    Moore, as the state's chief lawyer, has been active in his three terms in a variety of prosecutions. Among them are the reopening of civil rights cases. He also has taken part in high-profile drug raids.
    A group called the Alabama White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan took issue with Moore for assisting in the 1998 prosecution of onetime Mississippi KKK chieftain Sam Bowers, who is serving a life prison term for murdering a black voting rights advocate more than three decades ago. 

High court won't revive redlining lawsuit

January 16, 1999
The Supreme Court today refused to revive a massive class-action civil rights lawsuit against many of the nation's largest insurance companies filed on behalf of 93,000 homeowners living in predominantly black neighborhoods of St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.
      The justices, without comment, left intact rulings that threw out the case.
      U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. in Kansas City ruled in 1997 that those who sued ``lack standing to bring claims against defendants against whom they have alleged no direct injury.''
      The judge's ruling left individual homeowners free to sue ``with whom each plaintiff has alleged grievances.'' A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the class action last August.

Anchorage landlords' religion claim prevails

January 15, 1999
Two Alaska landlords who believe that renting to unmarried couples amounts to facilitating sin have persuaded a federal appeals court that state and city laws banning housing discrimination based on marital status are unconstitutional.
      The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion released Thursday, concluded that Anchorage landlords Kevin Thomas and Joyce Baker, both Christians who own several rental properties, have a right to refuse to rent to unmarried couples. The municipal and state laws that prohibit the landlords from inquiring about marital status and refusing to rent to unmarrieds are unconstitutional, the opinion says.

Denny's sued for discrimination -- again

January 14, 1999
The Denny's chain launched a $2 million anti-racism campaign on the same day employees at one of its restaurants were accused of racial discrimination in a lawsuit.
      The suit filed Tuesday in Superior Court accuses employees at a San Jose Denny's of making a group of 17 people, all but one of whom is Hispanic, wait as other patrons were seated, refusing them service and summoning the police to have them ejected.
      The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages for the April incident.

FCC: Advertisers routinely avoid minority radio

January 13, 1999
Advertisers regularly discriminate against minority-owned radio stations and stations that have large African American or Hispanic audiences, a new government study has concluded.
      The study, to be released today by the Federal Communications Commission, offers the strongest evidence yet for a complaint long voiced by minority broadcasters. For decades, they have said advertisers paid disproportionately less for air time on stations reaching largely African American or Hispanic audiences or bypassed their stations altogether, a practice known among ad buyers as the "no urban/Spanish dictate."
      Based on interviews and an analysis of radio industry data for 3,745 stations, the FCC study found that stations owned by "majority" firms collected about 29 percent more revenue per listener than minority-owned stations targeting largely minority audiences. In a survey of 64 minority-owned stations, 91 percent said they had encountered advertiser "dictates" not to buy ads on their stations.

Clinton pushes plan to help disabled to work

January 13, 1999
President Clinton proposed $2 billion in tax credits, health benefits and other services Wednesday to make it easier for disabled Americans to hold jobs.
      At a White House ceremony, Clinton endorsed legislation being introduced next week by Sens. James Jeffords, R-Vt., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., that would expand federal health coverage for disabled workers.
      ``Americans should never have to choose between the dignity of work and the health care they need,'' Clinton said. ``With this initiative, they'll have a ticket to work, not an impossible choice."

Denny's to televise anti-racism ads

January 13, 1999
The Denny's restaurant chain plans to spend $2 million on commercials that might not get people in to buy breakfast but, the company hopes, get them talking about racism.
      ``With the lessons we've learned, we want to help get people talking more about race,'' said Jim Adamson, chief executive of Denny's parent company, Spartanburg, S.C.-based Advantica Restaurant Group Inc.
      Denny's has worked to repair its tarnished image since paying $45.7 million five years ago to settle a discrimination suit by black customers.

Cuomo apparently will not seek Senate seat

January 09, 1999
Federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, the eldest son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has decided not to run for the Senate seat being given up by fellow Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a top adviser said Friday.
      The younger Cuomo plans to remain at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and help Vice President Al Gore mount his presidential campaign.
      "Andrew is not running for the U.S. Senate," former state Democratic Party Chairman John Marino said. "His commitment is to HUD and to the vice president and to the president."
      Cuomo's decision is certain to increase interest in whether Hillary Rodham Clinton might run for the New York Senate seat. She has not ruled out such a move.


Subscribe to RSS - News Stories