Department Charges Texas Newspaper with Violating Fair Housing Act

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Department today said it has charged the San Antonio Express-News and its parent company with violating the Fair Housing Act by accepting and publishing 42 ads for rental housing that excluded potential renters because of their race, religion, sex, national origin or familial status.

The charges stem from an April 2002 complaint filed by one of HUD's non-profit partner organizations that investigates alleged violations of the Act.

Typical of the illegal ads, which ran between November 2000 and October 2002, were the following:

  • "WALZEN Area, Hispanic or White male pref., to share home…"

  • "2/1 House, Beautiful historic house, in Beacon Hill, See to apprec. No pets/children…"

A hearing on the charges will be held by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge in October unless either the complainant or respondent elect to have the case decided by a federal judge in U.S. District Court.

Housing discrimination charges heard before an ALJ carry a maximum civil penalty of $11,000 for a first offense - more if the respondent has committed prior violations of the Act - plus actual damages for the complainant, injunctive or other equitable relief, and attorney fees. A district court may award all of the damages available in an administrative proceeding, and may also award punitive damages.



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