Federal officials are charging New Jersey landlord John Graham for not only refusing to rent to a Black woman because of her race but also sending her a stream of racist texts.
NJ.com reports Graham allegedly sent racial epithets like “white power,” “KKK” and referred to the woman, who has not been named, as “a slave.”
Last February, the unidentified woman contacted Graham to see his apartment in Paramus, New Jersey. When she told him she couldn’t visit the property until two days later, he curtly hung up on her. When she later asked if he could send pictures of the property, he responded, “No thank you. Do not make the cut.” When the woman questioned this response, Graham then went into a slew of racial slurs, even going as far to call the property “a n****r free zone.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is currently charging Graham for violating the Fair Housing Act. The law asserts that it’s illegal to deny housing to someone because of their race or ethnicity.
HUD’s general counsel, J. Paul Compton, affirmed that the department is standing against the blatant acts of racism, stating that “no one looking for housing should be rejected because of race, much less be subjected to the indignity of racial slurs.”
“This charge sends a clear message that HUD will protect the housing rights of all persons to the fullest extent of the law," Compton added.
Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, also voiced her support for HUD’s charge against Graham, claiming “[this] action reflects HUD’s commitment to protecting the rights of home seekers, no matter their race, and taking action against housing providers that break the law.”
Graham's discrimination led the woman to suffer emotional distress. An administrative judge will hear the charges unless either party wants the case held in federal court, where punitive damages could be awarded.
If you like this content, check out these other articles: