Atlanta real estate firms, agent settle federal race discrimination suit

Coldwell Banker Joe T. Lane Realty Inc., Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty Company Inc. and former Coldwell agent Rodney Lee Foreman reached the agreement a little more than a year after the federal Department of Justice sued because of a complaint brought by the National Fair Housing Alliance and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A federal judge must approve the agreement, however.

According to the suit, Foreman told a Fair Housing Alliance tester posing as a prospect in 2003 and 2004 that he did not know where to take the client because he couldn’t tell the tester’s race when they spoke on the telephone.

“I didn’t know if you were a Caucasian or not,”  Foreman reportedly told the undercover investigator.

“People have the right to make fully informed housing choices,” Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a news release. “Unlawful steering by real estate agents frustrates this right and perpetuates segregated communities.”

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