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Fonte v Romain Realty

#W97-148 | Location: Ypsilanti | Court Level: Federal | Settlement: Non-disclosed

Categories: Race, Rental
Tags: African American, Black, Sublet

One of Ypsilanti’s largest landlords, Romain Realty, was sued in Federal court for race discrimination by a woman who attempted to sublease an apartment owned by the downtown company.

Amelia Fonte attempted to take over a lease for a Romain efficiency apartment in late 1997.  According to the lawsuit, after viewing the unit the exiting tenants told Ms. Fonte they were “desperate” to get out of their lease.  Ms. Fonte, who is African-American, told FHC staff that she went to the Romain Realty office where she was told the unit had been rented.  Testing conducted by the FHC over a 16-month period supported Fonte’s claim of race discrimination.

Romain Realty, located at 312 Ballard, owns and operates numerous rental units in the downtown and Eastern Michigan University area as well as units on the outskirts of Ypsilanti.

FHC Cooperating Attorney Ericka M. Jackson of Sommers, Schwartz, Silver and Schwartz, P.C., filed suit on behalf of Ms. Fonte. The suit, filed in September, 1999, alleges violations of the Federal Fair Housing Act. The case was assigned to Judge George E. Woods.

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