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FAIR HOUSING CENTER SETTLES HANO/HRI RIVER GARDEN LAWSUIT

Monday, July 09, 2007

  • By: Kate Scott
  • Organization: Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

Dasha Corner and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center ("FHAC"), represented by the Tulane Civil Litigation Clinic, announce today that a lawsuit filed in December 2006 in federal court against the Housing Authority of New Orleans and LGD Rental 1, LLC ("HRI/River Garden"), owner of River Garden Apartments, formerly the St. Thomas public housing development, has been resolved by consent decree.

Readers can review the order entered in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by the Honorable Judge Beer by clicking here. To download a copy of the consent degree, click here.

In their complaint, Ms. Corner and FHAC alleged that HANO and HRI/River Garden breached a valid conciliation agreement ("Enforcement Agreement") entered in August 2003 under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 when they leased ACC units at the River Garden Apartments in New Orleans to HANO employees and other non-former St. Thomas residents. Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that such conduct violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง3601, et seq. and Civ. Code Art. 1994. HANO and HRI/River Garden denied all of the plaintiffs' allegations, citing an IRS waiver.

The parties agree that their mutual interests, as well as the interests of former St. Thomas residents and other public housing residents, will be served by working cooperatively to ensure that both the letter and spirit of the negotiated Consent Decree are realized. The Consent Decree defines the preferences that will govern the River Garden Development for former St. Thomas residents, the rental criteria that will apply to all applicants for public housing units at River Garden, advertising and marketing procedures to govern the development, the application process that will govern the development, appeal policies for applicants who are informed that they are ineligible for a public housing unit at River Garden, and certain document retention and record keeping responsibilities at the development.

The St. Thomas Housing Development was demolished in 2000 under a HUD program known as HOPE VI. St. Thomas was redeveloped as a mixed income community - River Garden Apartments -- by HRI/River Garden.

"It is absolutely critical that qualified former residents of the St. Thomas development - wherever they are -- know and understand that they are welcome back home to River Garden," said James Perry, Executive Director of FHAC.

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