Chicago sues landlord for bias against children

August 20, 1998
When city worker Timothy Novak and his wife, Susan, faced eviction from their Northwest Side apartment just before Christmas, 1996, they began searching for a new home for themselves and their four kids.
     Many landlords rejected them, including Felix Padlan, owner of a three-bedroom apartment for rent in the 8600 block of Foster Avenue.
     Now the City of Chicago is taking Padlan to court, accusing him of violating the city's fair housing ordinance by discriminating against the Novaks on the basis of parental status.
     In a lawsuit filed this week, city lawyers asked a Cook County Circuit judge to enforce a 1997 ruling by the city Human Relations Commission, which ordered Padlan to pay $21,033 plus interest to compensate the Novaks.
     It is believed to be the first time the city has filed suit to force a landlord to comply with a commission order in a case involving parental status discrimination. 

Natiowide under fire for insurance bias -- again

August 20, 1998
A local fair-housing organization filed a federal racial discrimination complaint against Nationwide Insurance and an Akron agent yesterday for allegedly denying a black woman improved coverage on her East Akron home and withholding insurance rate information from a black homeowner.
      The Fair Housing Advocates Association filed the complaint against Nationwide and agent Bill Gearhart with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development in Chicago.
      The organization also plans to register a formal complaint with the Justice Department that contends Nationwide may have violated a 1997 agreement that prohibited using the age or market value of a home as eligibility criteria for insurance coverage.

Wisconsin sued over group homes law

August 20, 1998
A state law giving communities the power to close group homes for people with disabilities is discriminatory and should be struck down, a federal lawsuit filed against the state contends.
     The law also violates federal laws that supersede it, according to the suit.
     The Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy and three individual plaintiffs also named as a defendant the Town of Pittsfield, challenging the Brown County municipality's plan to hold an August 31 hearing on whether a group home there "poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare" of surrounding residents.
      Under state law, if the group home is found to pose such a threat, the town could order the facility to close unless it gets special zoning permission. 

High court dismisses environmental racism case

August 18, 1998
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a case from Pennsylvania that asked whether private citizens can sue over government agency regulations that allegedly result in racial discrimination.
     Chester, Pa., residents had accused the state of "environmental racism" by placing waste treatment facilities in their mostly black city, and the high court had agreed in June to hear arguments in the case. But the residents asked the justices last month to dismiss the case as moot because a permit for a proposed treatment facility was revoked and the facility will not be built. 

Ohio city marketing white areas to black buyers

August 17, 1998
Interest is high in a down-payment aid program geared to attract black home buyers to this predominantly white suburb.
     Other efforts to reach out to blacks have achieved mixed results, but the suburb clearly is building bridges to people whom a federal judge said city leaders once tried to exclude.
     Parma is now nearly 15 months into a 24-month dismissal order that will relieve the suburb of federal court oversight of fair housing efforts. The suburb has been under order to remedy fair housing wrongs since 1980.
     Tired of the court-order stigma, city officials crafted a two-year plan with the U.S. Justice Department in November 1996 to market its housing stock aggressively among blacks. Justice officials approved the marketing plan in June 1997. 

Judge delays approval of Nationwide settlement

August 14, 1998
Two people raised issues yesterday in a Lucas County Common Pleas Court fairness hearing, which delayed court approval of a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against Nationwide Insurance.
      Albert Lloyd told Judge Frederick McDonald that he objected to the agreement because it includes only owner-occupants and that he had to buy insurance on a property on West Bancroft Street, although he lives elsewhere.
     C. Thomas McCarter, a lawyer, told Judge McDonald that a woman had contacted him last week. Although he doesn't officially represent her, he said he wanted to make an appearance to preserve her right to object in the future if it seems appropriate. 

EDITORIAL: Bias may cost S.F. HUD dollars

August 14, 1998
On July 29, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a provision, introduced by Frank Riggs, R-Windsor, that would strip San Francisco of federal housing money, totaling $65 to 265 million. Riggs introduced the measure to punish San Francisco for The City's policy requiring any company with which it does business to offer
domestic partner benefits to employees.
     Riggs' curious message - that equality is an ideal to be fought against vigorously - is a dangerous one. The denial of public funds to San Francisco flies in the face of the right of citizens to enjoy the basic freedoms and benefits afforded by their community without discrimination. 

Regulators hear objections to BancOne merger

August 13, 1998
A panel of federal banking regulators considering a proposed $29.8 billion merger between First Chicago NBD Corp. and Banc One Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, heard allegations Thursday that Banc One's lending practices discriminate against minorities.
     ``Low- and moderate-income groups, blacks and Latinos are not treated well by Banc One,'' said Michael Shea, executive director for the Chicago-based Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
     The Federal Reserve Board must approve the proposed merger before it is presented to shareholders' meetings, scheduled for September 15.
     The merger would create the largest financial institution in the Midwest and the nation's fifth-largest bank with assets of $230 billion. 

Tenants win $250,000 in Section 8 lawsuit

August 12, 1998
The former owner of a Renton apartment complex has agreed to pay $250,000 in damages to tenants and former tenants after a federal judge ruled low-income residents were discriminated against because they were primarily black women in one-parent households and recipients of federal housing subsidies.
     The money from Avalon Ridge Apartments will be shared among at least 20 households that filed a class-action lawsuit against Sunpointe Associates.
     The women - all beneficiaries of Section 8, a federal housing program that provides monthly rental subsidies to low-income residents - received notices in summer 1996 informing them that they could no longer live at the apartment complex. They reportedly had made their monthly rental payments on time and were good tenants.  


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