A real estate agent and two Atlanta firms affiliated with Coldwell Banker have agreed to pay $160,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging they show prospective home buyers houses in certain neighborhoods based on their race.
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.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.