On April 18, 1994 Frank and Elgirtha Worthy filed a race discrimination suit against Briar Cove Apartments in Ann Arbor. In November 1992 the Worthys, an African-American couple with one child living at home, contacted the Fair Housing Center of Washtenaw County with a complaint against the complex located near Briarwood Mall.
In their complaint to the FHC the Worthys stated that they believed they were being given false and incomplete information about the availability of the units as they sought to rent at Briar Cove. According to the Worthys, they went to see a unit and were told the unit they sought was not available. According to Mrs. Worthy, she called the next day without identifying herself and was told that the preferred unit was available and that Briar Cove did accept dogs. Testing conducted by the Fair Housing Center supports the Worthy’s charge of discrimination based on race. The white tester was told of almost immediate availability while the African-American tester was told nothing would be available for two weeks.
The Worthys eventually moved into Briar Cove. According to the law suit, when the Worthys arrived at Briar Cove to move in, the rental agent laughed and said “You are in for a surprise”. The suit claims that the Worthys found the apartment to be “dirty, including dirty carpets, paint dust all over, paint stains on the carpet, dirt all over, unpainted walls or generally a filthy apartment”. In April of 1994 FHC-Washtenaw Cooperating Attorney James C. Barnes, Jr. filed suit on behalf of the Worthys in Wayne County Circuit Court. The case was assigned to Judge Michael L. Stacey. No further information is available about the settlement.
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