Friday, September 28, 2012

Civil Rights Feds Tag Mobile Home Park Operators In Civil Suit Alleging Race-Based Housing Discrimination Against Black Rental Applicants

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):

  • The Justice Department announced [] that it has filed a lawsuit against the owner and operator of the Heritage Point mobile home park in Montgomery, Ala., alleging that the companies and their employees or officers discriminated against African-Americans. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, names several defendants, including Lawrence Properties Inc., which manages Heritage Point, William Bounds, the district supervisor for Lawrence Properties, Lawrence at Lakewood LLC, which owns the property and Michael Lawrence, the president of the Lawrence at Lakewood, LLC. The complaint alleges that Lawrence instructed property managers not to rent to African-American applicants at Heritage Point or other mobile home parks managed by Lakewood throughout Alabama and Georgia.(1)
The alleged victim actually purchased, directly from a private homeowner, a mobile home located on a lot that the private owner rented from the mobile home park operator. Apparently, the mobile home purchase was not contingent on obtaining approval from the park operator to take over the existing lease on the lot. After a bit of alleged jerking around by the park operator's employees, the alleged victim was advised that her rental application for the lot upon which her just-purchased mobile home sat on was rejected. Consequently, not only was the alleged victim and her family unable to move into the mobile home, she was forced to pick up the mobile home and move it off the lot and out of the park, which she did, bearing the attendant costs of the move, according to the complaint. By the way, these allegations came to light some seven months after the alleged victim's application was rejected. According to the complaint, the then-property manager at the mobile home park, who now was no longer employed there, tracked down the alleged victim and informed her that her application to rent the lot had never been processed because the mobile home park owner did not want to rent to black people. Two other now-former employees have since come forward to assert that the company's policy was to limit rentals to black people, according to the complaint.

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