Tucson, AZ

ACLU of Arizona sues city of surprise over an ordinance that's pretty terrible to domestic violence victims

August 28, 2015
The City of Surprise has this ordinance in place that allows a landlord to evict tenants who place calls to the police more than four times in 30 days, and there are no exceptions if the tenant is the victim of said crime. Well, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona have decided to challenge that rule on behalf of a domestic violence survivor.
     Nancy Markham was a victim of "repeated domestic violence" who "needed to contact and rely on the Surprise police for protection and assistance at her rental home. In response, Defendants sought Ms. Markham’s eviction," the lawsuit, filed Thursday, says. Markham is a single mother of two children.
     Between March and September of last year, Markham’s ex-boyfriend choked her, punched her, and threatened her with weapons. A Surprise police officer then enforced the nuisance ordinance by notifying her landlord about the police calls and encouraged her eviction, the ACLU argues. "In September 2014, the property manager of Markham’s apartment notified her that she would be evicted for having violated the law, even though the police never mentioned the law to Markham during any of her calls," the press release says.

Tucson businessman accused of deceptive practices

April 18, 2015
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating a Tucson businessman and several of his housing companies that it says are engaged in deceptive rent-to-own practices.
     David Kinas, owner of several rent-to-own operations, has been doing business in Tucson for more than three decades, during which time he was named a finalist for the Better Business Bureau’s Ethics in Business award in 2006.
     In that time, however, Kinas has left a trail of unhappy clients who took their cases to court and two state attorneys general who found his business tactics questionable.

Landlords to pay $150K to settle suit

November 18, 2009
The owners of a small southwest side apartment complex have agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a fair housing discrimination lawsuit filed by Attorney General Terry Goddard.
     The lawsuit named the apartment complex's owners and managers, Frank J. Konarski, Gabriela Konarski, Frank E. Konarski, Patricia Konarski and John F. Konarski.
     It alleged they denied renter James Larcom an accessible parking space, failed to make repairs to electrical sockets in his apartment that would allow for the use of medical equipment like an oxygen tank, and failed to provide Larcom with a medical release from his lease.
     The lawsuit also alleged the Konarskis had threatened Larcom and his family with an eviction from the complex in the 500 block of West Dakota Street for making a fair housing complaint to Goddard's office.

City addresses domestic violence in public housing

December 12, 2006
Victims of domestic violence will have more options under new city of Tucson public housing rules approved by the Public Housing Authority on Tuesday night.
     Emily Nottingham, the city's director of community services, said victims will be allowed to split their leases so they can leave abusive partners and find other housing.
     Also, victims cannot be evicted because of multiple police visits if the calls are related to domestic violence.

Housing, racial discrimination complaints up here, in state

July 06, 2004
Racial discrimination and other housing complaints in apartment complexes in Tucson and across the state are on the rise, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office. "We are seeing an increase in housing discrimination as a whole," said Judy Drickey-Prohow, acting chief in Tucson for the complaint section of attorney general's Civil Rights Division.
     "For the longest time, we were hanging around 100 cases a year across the state. The numbers have been creeping up to 150 the last couple years."
     From September 2000 to April 2004, the division fielded 450 housing complaints statewide, with 157 of those involving Tucson. Racial discrimination made up 23.8 percent of the statewide complaints, the second-highest classification behind disability discrimination, according to attorney general's statistics.

Police probe painting of swastikas inside N. Side home

February 22, 2003
Tucson police are investigating an alleged act of vandalism in which swastikas were spray- painted over much of the interior of a North Side home.
     Local political leaders were outraged over the incident at Prince of Tucson RV Park, 3501 N. Freeway, but neighbors there are dubious that a crime even happened.
     According to police reports, Donna Straw and her Japanese-American boyfriend, Greg Inouye, reported the damage Feb. 15 after they were away from their mobile home for a week.

EEOC sues for Muslim woman's right to wear scarf

October 01, 2002
0 -->      (TUCSON, Ariz., October 1, 2002) -- Bilan Nur, a customer service representative at an airport rental car agency, had always been allowed to wear a head scarf to work during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But that changed in 2001.
     The Muslim woman's bosses told her she couldn't wear a scarf in front of customers - even if it had a company logo on it.
     Nur was eventually fired when she refused to comply with her boss' orders. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it's a clear case of September 11 backlash discrimination, and it has sued the company. 

Many MLK residents are wary of relocation

April 04, 2002
The No. 6 bus takes James Joseph straight to Fry's. If he's going to Safeway, it's the No. 8. Two other Sun Tran bus routes carry the 63-year-old man directly to the physician and the psychiatrist who help him manage his brittle knees and fragile psyche.
      Joseph has built his life around the Martin Luther King Jr. Apartments, a public housing complex just a few steps away from the Ronstadt Transit Center Downtown.
      But city officials are considering a proposal to transform the city-owned complex into a private residential development, a move that would force many or all of its current residents to leave.

Possible sale of housing could oust old, disabled

April 02, 2002
Elderly and disabled tenants living in a public housing high-rise along East Congress Street could be asked to move as part of the city's Downtown revitalization effort.
     Selling the Martin Luther King Apartments, a 96-unit complex at East Congress Street and North Fifth Avenue which opened in 1970, to a private developer might fit into plans for Rio Nuevo, Tucson City Council members were told Monday. However, nothing is planned for the immediate future.
     John Jones, the project director for Rio Nuevo, said it is too soon to say whether the high rise will be sold and, if it were sold, where the current tenants would live. He said such a change could be in the best interest of the residents. 

Age-bias case costs TNI $655,000

March 19, 2002
Tucson Newspapers will pay six former production workers a total of $650,000 to settle allegations that their firings in June 2000 amounted to age discrimination.
     Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano's office, which brought the complaint, called it the biggest settlement ever in a civil rights case in the state.
     The settlement, approved Monday by Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry, requires the company to train its human resources personnel and supervisors on its anti-discrimination policies and keep records on all employees fired from its pre-press department for the next three years. 

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