The Florida Justice Institute has filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of Aventura Harbor Apartments for race discrimination against prospective tenants. The case is brought on behalf of Housing Project Opportunities for Excellence (HOPE), a local fair housing organization that sent testers of different races to ask about the availability of apartments, and several individual African-Americans who were given false information about the availability of apartments. The suit brings claims under the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and names as defendants Beverly Hills Club Apartments, LLC and United Property Management, Inc., as well as two employees at the apartment complex.
The suit alleges that HOPE’s African-American testers were falsely told that no apartments were available, or were available on less favorable terms, while the white and/or Hispanic testers were told that apartments were in fact available or were given more favorable terms. One individual plaintiff is an employee of the apartment complex who was not offered the same rent discount as other white and/or Hispanic employees. Two other sets of individual plaintiffs were falsely told that there were no apartments available in their price ranges, and then alterations were made to the visitor log so that no follow-up would be conducted with them.
This is not the first time that this apartment complex has been sued for race discrimination. The owners or operators of the complex have been sued twice before by the U.S. Department of Justice, and once by FJI representing HOPE and other individual plaintiffs. The latter lawsuits resulted in a $1.2 million settlement.
You can read the press release, or view media coverage of the suit. Coincidentally, the Miami-Dade County Commission had recently voted to name a street after Jose Milton, the late owner of the companies that were sued, despite the previous lawsuits. When this new lawsuit became public, however, the Commission voted to reverse that decision.