Former owners of Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) settle fair housing advertising complaints for $5,000

Kentucky Fair Housing Council • 436 S. 7th Street • Louisville KY 40203 • 502-583-3247 • Fax: 502-583-3180

Contacts: Tony Baize, Acting Director
Phone: 502-583-3247
Fax: 502-583-3180

For Immediate Release  

The Kentucky Fair Housing Council and the former owners of the Lousville Eccentric Observer, a weekly newspaper in Louisville, have settled complaints that the newspaper published several illegally discriminatory advertisements in its real estate classifieds section.  The ads in question contained language that illegally stated preferences for renters based on sex and familial status.   The $5,000 settlement resolves three complaints filed by the Fair Housing Council in 2002 and 2003. 

The advertisements in question contained the discriminatory wording “ideal for single older person,” “ideal for 1,” “perfect for single looking for extra space, 2 roommates, or a couple” and “seeks  single . . . older woman.”  Advertising guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1995 indicates that the words “singles,” “couples,” and “older” are facially discriminatory and indicate a preference for tenants without children, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.  (A copy of the HUD guidance is available online at .)       

The Fair Housing Council settled complaints against Bob and Sandy Wilson, landlords who placed discriminatory ads in LEO, for $7,500 in June 2003.  The Wilsons have since undergone fair housing training conducted by the Fair Housing Council.  Complaints against two additional landlords are still pending with the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission.

“We are pleased that the former owners of LEO decided to step up and settle these complaints.  This case was especially troubling, because the paper continued to publish discriminatory ads after the initial complaints were filed.  The fact that they apparently didn’t take the complaints seriously was frustrating at times,” said Tony Baize, Acting Director of the Fair Housing Council. 

In the past three years, the Fair Housing Council has settled discriminatory advertising complaints against BellSouth, the Courier-Journal, the Evansville Courier & Press, the Perry County (IN) News, and several private landlords.  The Council has advertising complaints pending against the New Albany Tribune, the Linton (IN) Daily Citizen, the Maysville Ledger-Independent, and several individual housing providers.

For copies of the settlement agreement, which has been signed by the complainants and respondents, call the Fair Housing Council.  The agreement is pending approval by the Human Relations Commission.  It is unlikely that the Commission will change the agreement.