google-site-verification: google5ae98130f18ad244.html

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Text Size


Jan. 12 - Federal Fair Housing lawsuit against the City of Garden City, Georgia and the Pines at Garden City results in victory for fair housing

Category: Law

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

January 12, 2018 - The owners and managers of the Pines at Garden City (formerly known as Westgate Apartments) and the City of Garden City, Georgia recently settled a four-year long, federal fair housing case challenging their ban of tenants with criminal records.

Defendants American Apartment Management Co., Inc., CHG Westgate and the City of Garden City agreed to pay plaintiffs $112,500.00, plus their attorneys’ fees, and to comply with the Fair Housing Act in a judgment entered in the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on Nov. 22, 2017. 

The lawsuit challenged defendants’ attempts to evict residents based on their criminal backgrounds — most for minor offenses, others more than a decade old. The Plaintiffs alleged that overly restrictive criminal background standards discriminate on the basis of race without advancing any legitimate, nondiscriminatory objective.

The groundbreaking lawsuit was brought on behalf of fourteen African-American mothers who lived at Westgate Apartments in 2012 by the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council, Inc. (SCFHC).

The case began when SCFHC responded to tenant complaint in February 2012, that the Garden City Police Department (GCPD) and Westgate’s landlord demanded that they abandon their homes within three days based on tenants’ previously-disclosed criminal records.

A year later, Westgate was purchased - with the blessing of the City - by new owners who instituted a more draconian rule, barring any tenant who had a record of conviction for most misdemeanors or felonies at any time within the past 99 years. Evictions filed by the landlord enforcing the new 99-year rule were stopped by Georgia Legal Service attorneys. 

"A blanket 99-year criminal conviction history ban violates the Fair Housing Act," said Wayne Dawson, SCFHC’s Executive Director. "It has a disproportionate impact on minorities without advancing any legitimate business objective. It’s also simply unfair and makes it difficult for folks to find housing in an already-tight housing market.’’

Plaintiffs were represented by the Woolf Law Firm of Savannah, GA and Brancart & Brancart of Pescadero, CA. 

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0 / 300 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-300 characters
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.
    • No comments found
    CLICK to SUBSCRIBE and Support Great Journalism!

    Follow Us!


    Komento Activities

    Guest - Maria Johnson Pleming - Commented on Oct. 25 - Department of Biolog... in Joomla Article
    So happy to know the Millen Fish Hatchery will be recognized for the incredible system. Mr uncle Dav...
    Guest - Karin Mcgruder - Commented on June 4 - Foram Group Announces... in Joomla Article
    Are there any updates on this project?and when will the first apartments be available?
    Guest - Hart Williford - Commented on June 28 - Savannah Music Festi... in Joomla Article
    Rob will be missed by the entire Savannah Community, he built the Savannah Music Festival to worldwi...
    Guest - Daryl Stair - Commented on Oct. 16 - Sonesta Resort Hilto... in Joomla Article
    Do you have to be a paying guest to use the Tesla charger?
    Guest - JR Lee - Commented on MPC approves plan for new Walm... in Joomla Article
    Great, another complex to attract Savannah's finest entitlement minded individuals. Another complex ...
    Guest - Jack - Commented on Aug. 23 - Phelps on Politics -... in Joomla Article
    "Goose that laid the golden EYE? You're right, that is hard to argue with.
    Guest - Robin Sherman - Commented on Jan. 4 – COMMENTARY: New Year... in Joomla Article
    Excellent post, Ms. Phelps. Effective government can only occur when the public is informed. Transpa...
    Guest - Tao of Me - Commented on Why is Memorial Hospital Being... in Joomla Article
    They aren't telling Memorial employees anything about this. A recent survey of the facilities by Nic...
    Guest - Genie Brazzeal - Commented on Feb. 24 – Lawyer and former Al... in Joomla Article
    Thank you, Mr. Bordeaux! Bring some honesty to this court. No more winking like I experienced.
    Guest - Karl - Commented on Feb. 25 - Memorial Hospital’s ... in Joomla Article
    Good article. Has a lot of information that is very difficult for "team members"(employees) to find....
    Guest - Susan Worthington - Commented on May 13 – UPDATED 11:39 a.m. HC... in Joomla Article
    In 1953 there was not such a thing as a trauma or neonatal program. The need for Neonatal Services ...
    Guest - Linda Dominy - Commented on June 8 – EDITORIAL: Immediate ... in Joomla Article
    As a clinical team member this makes me sad and it would never happen. We can argue politics all day...
    Guest - Judy - Commented on Savannah’s Title Max Bankruptc... in Joomla Article
    How Tracy Young was allowed to file for bankruptcy or chapter 11 is amazing. Title Max should be ch...
    Guest - Samantha Claar - Commented on Aug. 7 - COMMENTARY: Je suis “... in Joomla Article
    Pertinent questions that deserve real answers. If upper management - appointed and elected - can't ...
    Guest - Ken - Commented on Aug. 6 - Dept. of Labor propos... in Joomla Article
    Is this state or federal?
    Coastal Empire News
    Headquarters: 35 Barnard St., Suite 300, Savannah, GA. 31401.
    Tel: 912-388-4692 | Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.