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N.J. city, mayor settle police hiring bias suit

October 07, 1998
The city has settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to the forced resignation of its first black police chief and the appointment of a white man who claimed he was the victim of discrimination.
     The settlement announced Tuesday followed a weeklong trial in Capt. Richard Wright's bias lawsuit and came as jurors were to begin deliberations.
     Wright's lawsuit accused Cardell Cooper, who was mayor from 1990 through 1997, of engineering a deal to make sure that then-Lt. Harry Harman, who is black, got the job even though he placed sixth on the exam.
     The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement but agreed to pay about $180,000 in legal fees and back pay to Wright, said municipal attorney Jason Holt.
     The deal also settles the case against Cooper, who helped run President Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign in New Jersey and is awaiting confirmation as assistant secretary for community planning and development in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The position oversees cities' grant programs.

Orange County group files race lawsuit

October 07, 1998
The Fair Housing Council of Orange County, Cal., and three individuals have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the owners of the Flowertree Apartments located in Buena Park, California are discriminating on the basis of race or color. The suit, which was filed last Friday, alleges violations of the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as federal and state civil rights laws.
      The lawsuit followed an allegation by a manager at the complex that the owners of Flowertree Apartments had deliberately delayed the applications of two of the plaintiffs because of their race. Results of the Fair Housing Council's testing were consistent with the manager's account of the owners' practices. The manager has since left the company.

Congress makes public housing changes

October 06, 1998
Congress agreed yesterday on legislation that expands the availability of subsidized housing for the first time in five years and allows housing authorities to move more working families into apartments now reserved almost exclusively for the poor.
     The public housing overhaul was attached to the fiscal 1999 spending bill for the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, which was given a $2 billion boost in funding over the current year. 

High court to hear disability discrimination case

October 05, 1998
The Supreme Court accepted a case Monday that would decide how difficult it should be for disabled workers to sue their employers for discrimination after they apply for or receive Social Security disability benefits.
     The justices voted to use the case of a Texas woman fired from her job after suffering a stroke to decide an issue the Clinton administration says has left federal appeals courts "in considerable disarray."

IG: USDA's civil rights office in disarray

October 02, 1998
The Agriculture Department's civil rights office is "in disarray" and making no significant progress toward clearing up a backlog of discrimination complaints by black farmers, the department's inspector general said in a report released yesterday.
     Inspector General Roger Viadero recommended stripping the office of its jurisdiction and creating an outside task force to deal with the problem.
     The civil rights office is "making little attempt to correct the mistakes of the past," Viadero's report said.
     Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman has acknowledged that current and past administrations have discriminated against black farmers. 

Editorial:  The Housing Bill

October 01, 1998
THE FEDERAL government now spends $28 billion a year on housing subsidies for lower-income people. The amount is large but nowhere near enough to meet the need as federally defined, and how to allocate the aid -- or the shortage of aid -- is one of the major issues remaining in this Congress. Republicans want to give local officials the right to extend the subsidies to upwardly mobile lower-middle-income families even at the possible expense of the poor. The administration and congressional Democrats are willing to do a little of this, but not as much. When the same dispute arose in the last Congress, the legislation died. The giant programs have been administered on a year-to-year basis since. 

DOJ reaches settlement with housing authority

September 30, 1998
The Milford (Connecticut) Housing Authority will follow through on a plan to acquire and/or build twenty-eight units of new family public housing, under an agreement with the Justice Department and the NAACP-New Haven Branch.
     The plan will settle lawsuits that alleged that the Housing Authority's cancellation of a $3.5 million federally-subsidized scattered site housing program violated the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against race and national origin discrimination. A significant proportion of the beneficiaries of the scrapped housing program were projected to be African American or Hispanic. 

High court to hear student harassment case

September 29, 1998
The Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether educators violate a federal law when they fail to stop students from sexually harassing other students.
     The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that barred a lawsuit against a Georgia school district and school officials over the harassment of a girl by a fellow fifth-grader. 

19 black colleges receive HUD grants

September 22, 1998
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced $6.5 million in grants to help 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) address housing needs and revitalize distressed areas in their communities.
     Cuomo announced the grants at a conference sponsored by the White House Initiative on HBCUs in observance of National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, September 20-26.
      President Clinton, who in 1993 signed an Executive Order expanding the role of HBCUs in national affairs, said, "HBCUs are a source of great pride and a symbol of economic, social and political growth." 

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