WASHINGTON – September 24, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Rodney Foreman, a real estate agent formerly employed by Coldwell Banker-Joe T. Lane Realty, Inc., in Jonesboro, Georgia, with racial steering in the sale of homes. HUD’s investigation found that Foreman steered whites posing as homebuyers to white neighborhoods. HUD has also charged Coldwell Banker—Joe T. Lane Realty, Inc., with violations of the Fair Housing Act based on the discriminatory actions of Foreman.
Foreman’s discriminatory actions were exposed during undercover testing by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a fair housing organization with 20 years of experience in fair housing testing. NFHA sent white and African-American testers to Coldwell Banker—Joe T. Lane Realty, Inc., posing as potential homebuyers looking to relocate to the Atlanta area.
Foreman allegedly steered white homebuyers to white neighborhoods and made derogatory statements about black residents. Foreman allegedly told one of the white testers that he had two sets of listings—one for white homebuyers and another for African-Americans.
While investigating the NFHA claims, HUD filed its own complaint to ensure HUD’s ability to obtain relief for victims who have not been identified.
“Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act 40 years ago, one of the highest priorities of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been to combat housing discrimination,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “In the 21st century, steering should be something of the past. This case shows why HUD’s enforcement actions are crucial to eliminate housing discrimination.”
The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, the judge may award damages to each complainant for actual loss as a result of the discrimination, as well as damages for emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of civil rights. The judge may also order injunctive and other equitable relief to deter further discrimination, as well as the payment of attorney fees. In addition to the money damages payable to the complainant, the judge may impose a civil penalty in order to vindicate the public interest. In the event that one of the parties elects to proceed in federal district court, punitive damages may also be awarded to a prevailing complainant.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1 (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed.
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.