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Pasadena May Sue King's Villages : Race: An investigation found blacks were evicted or rejected as tenants more often than Latinos but did not say if discrimination was to blame.


PASADENA — A city investigation into allegations of racial discrimination at King's Villages housing project in Northwest Pasadena found that black applicants were rejected and black tenants evicted in greater numbers than Latino applicants and tenants over the last six years.

But the report did not determine whether the actions were a result of racial discrimination as claimed by the King's Villages Tenants Union Organization.

The Pasadena Board of Directors on Tuesday asked for a closed meeting next week with City Atty. Victor Kaleta to consider suing the housing project owners, Goldrich, Kest & Associates, to get records needed to determine whether there was discrimination.

"The numbers demonstrate clearly to me, anyway, that what has been alleged happened," said City Director Rick Cole. "The question is why."

Cole said the city, which owned the project in 1982 before it was sold that year to Goldrich, Kest, has a legal responsibility to ensure that the Culver City-based company complies with a purchase agreement that prohibits discrimination.

As part of a possible lawsuit, the city might try to obtain 1,900 individual tenant and applicant files from Goldrich, Kest & Associates and managing partner Thomas Pottmeyer & Co., Kaleta said.

Pottmeyer and Robert Hirsch, a King's Villages partner with Goldrich, Kest, could not be reached for comment. But Pottmeyer has said in the past that he follows federal and local regulations governing acceptance and eviction of tenants. Hirsch has said that Pottmeyer accepted Latinos in the housing project in greater numbers to counter past discrimination. Both said the housing project has been improved and tenants with connections to drug dealers evicted.

The tenant's group complained to City Directors last April that after Pottmeyer took over management of the 313-unit project along Fair Oaks Avenue in 1988, blacks were rejected as tenants. The group said Latinos who spoke little Englilsh were accepted instead, because they could not complain about allegedly poor conditions.

The city's report was based on applicant lists supplied by Pottmeyer and eviction proceedings filed in Pasadena Municipal Court, Housing Department employee Gordon Anderson said. According to the lists, Latino-surnamed applicants represented as much as 88% of those accepted, although only 65% of applicants.

Latino-surnamed tenants were named in only eight of the 304 evictions filed in the last six years.

But Anderson said that the applicant lists do not have sufficient details and that the court records do not include all tenants asked to leave the project. "Going in to look at each individual file is the way to do this," he said. "The folder on each applicant will tell when they applied, what their ethnicity is and the reason for rejection."

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