DC real estate firms to pay $10M for housing discrimination

Oct 21, 2022, 10:32 AM | Updated: 11:06 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A trio of real estate companies will pay $10 million for illegally discriminating against renters using government housing vouchers in the nation’s capital, in what Washington Attorney General Karl Racine said was the largest civil penalty in U.S. history for a housing discrimination case.

“When landlords break the law and refuse to accept vouchers, it’s reminiscent of Jim Crow-era housing discrimination policies intended to restrain opportunities for Black residents,” Racine said Thursday in announcing the settlement. “We’re sending a message to all landlords: If you follow this playbook, you will face consequences.”

Some company executives also are included in the settlement.

Racine filed a lawsuit in 2020 accusing DARO Management Services, DARO Realty and Infinity Real Estate of violating local civil rights and consumer protection laws by either denying housing to low-income applicants with housing vouchers or imposing additional and illegal fees and requirements.

The three interconnected companies own and manage units in 15 buildings across Washington. As part of the settlement, the companies have agreed to stop managing residential properties in the city and will hand over management of its properties within 18 months. In addition, DARO Management President Carissa Barry will relinquish her local real estate license for 15 years.

A phone call to DARO Management seeking comment on the settlement did not receive an immediate response.

Racine said his investigation uncovered “mountains of evidence,” including multiple emails between company executives indicating a clear intent to block prospective renters using vouchers from the city’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, generally known as Section 8. About 95% of Section 8 voucher holders in D.C. are Black, Racine said.

Under terms of the district’s limited status as a non-state, Racine’s office does not have authority to prosecute felonies or several categories of serious misdemeanor crimes. Those cases are handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. However, Racine was able to file suit against DARO and its related companies as a violation of Washington’s consumer protection laws and Human Rights Act, which prohibits income-based housing discrimination.

“Vouchers are a critical tool that help our vulnerable residents,” Racine said. “Too many residents, especially people of color, face serious obstacles in finding safe and affordable housing. This displacement is not just the result of market forces. Instead it’s often caused … by a deliberate, illegal and unethical business model.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Britain's Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street to attend Parliament in London, Th...
Associated Press

UK Treasury chief: Tax cuts must wait for inflation to fall

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Treasury chief said Friday that taming inflation is more important than cutting taxes, resisting calls from some in the governing Conservative Party for immediate tax breaks for businesses and voters. At a speech in London, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said “the best tax cut right now is a cut […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Germany hopes to get ‘green hydrogen’ from Australia by 2030

BERLIN (AP) — A senior German official said Friday that she hopes her country will receive hydrogen made with renewable energy from Australia by 2030. The two countries have stepped up plans for cooperation on clean energy as Germany tries to find replacements for Russian gas supplies while pursuing an ambitious policy of reducing its […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Low-cost fashion chain H&M reports 4th-quarter loss

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Low-cost fashion brand H&M said Friday that shutting down its business in Russia and Belarus had a significant negative impact on its results, while increases in the costs of raw materials and freight and a strong U.S. dollar made purchases more expensive. The Sweden-based group said its net profit for the year […]
5 hours ago
FILE- Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani attends the 'Invest Karnataka 2016 - Global Investors Meet'...
Associated Press

Adani mulls suing US short-seller as shares sink up to 20%

NEW DELHI (AP) — Shares in India’s Adani Group plunged up to 20% on Friday and the company said it was considering legal action against U.S.-based short-selling firm Hindenburg Research for allegations of stock market manipulation and accounting fraud that have led investors to dump its stocks. The heavy selling of Adani-linked shares, which has […]
5 hours ago
A currency trader passes by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left...
Associated Press

Global shares edge higher, tracking Wall Street rally

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares advanced Friday, tracking a rally on Wall Street following reports suggesting the economy and corporate profits may be doing better than feared. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2% to 7,107.44. Germany’s DAX was unchanged at 15,134.04, while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose nearly 0.2% to 7,773.10. The future for the Dow Jones […]
5 hours ago
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, and Senate Approp...
Associated Press

5 women, immense power: Can they keep US from fiscal brink?

WASHINGTON (AP) — They are now among the most powerful women in Congress. But when they were first elected in the 1990s, they were often overlooked, or even talked down to. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, remembers that men would avoid asking her questions, addressing other men in the room instead. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., says […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
DC real estate firms to pay $10M for housing discrimination