Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches files lawsuit against two tax credit properties in Palm Beach Co.

(Palm Beach County, FL. February 18, 2003) -- The Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches, FHC, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Worthington Apartments, its agents and owners; The Wilson Company Ninety, Ltd., The Wilson Company Ninety Partners, Ltd., and The Wilson Company Ninety, Inc. and the Waverly Apartments and it’s agents and owners; The Wilson Company Seventy Four, Ltd., The Wilson Company Seventy Four Partners, Ltd., and The Wilson Company Seventy Four Partners, Inc.

The complaint alleges that Waverly Apartments, located in the City of West Palm Beach, and Worthington Apartments, located in the City of Lake Worth, discriminate on the basis of race or color in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit is the result of a complaint filed with the FHC by two African-American apartment seekers in which they alleged that they were discriminated against while attempting to rent a unit. FHC testing confirmed their allegations.

Both Waverly and Worthington were developed by the major Florida housing provider and developer, The Wilson Company, with financial and guarantee assistance from several federal programs; Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bond (MMRB), HUD Risk Sharing (RISK), Affordable Housing Guarantee (GUAR), State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) and Housing Credit (HC). All housing providers involved in these federal programs are mandated to certify that they will provide housing on an equal opportunity basis.

"This may be only the first time that a federal judge is being asked to examine whether a housing provider should pay back thousands in advanced federal dollars for violations of the Fair Housing Act," stated Vince Larkins, President & CEO of the Fair Housing Center. "Using illegal deceptive pretexts and discriminatory tactics because of someone’s race or color only exacerbates one’s situation, especially when our nation is suffering from an affordable housing crisis" he stated.

The plaintiffs are represented by Attorney Michael F. Amezaga Esq., FHC Litigation Coordinator. The FHC is the first and only locally-based, full service non-profit fair housing agency in Palm Beach County and is a member of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Individuals who believe that they may have been the victim of discrimination at either the Waverly or Worthington Apartments should call the FHC’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-910-FAIR.