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Yoder-Shrader Settles Housing Bias Suit

Rentals: Apartment management firm, accused of discrimination, to pay $226,000 in damages and fines.

August 01, 2000|DARYL STRICKLAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A large Orange County apartment management firm settled a lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against African Americans and Latinos by agreeing to pay $226,000 in damages and civil penalties, federal officials said Monday.

In U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the Yoder-Shrader Management Co. of Santa Ana agreed to settle charges that the company discriminated against renters at eight of its 11 apartment complexes, said the U.S. Justice Department, which litigated the case.

Government lawyers contended that Yoder-Shrader employees were told not to rent to blacks and Latinos, or in some cases, to lease only certain units to them. In addition, information about vacant units was concealed from them.

Yoder-Shrader denied liability, according to a Justice Department statement. Company officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

Bill Lann Lee, the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement that Monday's agreement will increase the amount of rental housing in Orange County regardless of "the color of their skin, the country from which they come or the number of children they may have."

Yoder-Shrader manages more than 1,200 Orange County apartment units.

Under terms of the agreement, Yoder-Shrader will pay $151,000 to the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, whose complaint in 1998 led to the lawsuit. Moreover, the company will give $65,000 to install children's play equipment at six of its 11 apartment complexes, and it will make $10,000 in civil payments.

The company also will provide fair housing training for its management employees; pay moving costs for some families wishing to relocate within an apartment complex; establish a mediation program for resolving disputes between tenants and management; and absorb the settlement's cost without raising rents.

The case is one of several that have been brought recently against Orange County apartment owners.

Herbert and Rose Wysard, who once owned the Flowertree Apartments of Buena Park, settled a lawsuit in March that accused them of discriminating against blacks. They agreed to pay $250,000 and to give up control of all rental properties for five years.

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