Custom Search

Friday, January 16, 2015

HUD Investigates City of Saint Paul

There maybe copy errors- January 6,2015
 U.S. Department Of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Midwest Region Office, Region V Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard, Room 2101 Chicago, Illinois 60604

Raven Financial, LLC C/O Kevin and Kathleen Riley,
Owners 300 Broadway, Suite 305 Fargo, ND 58102

Dear Complainant: Subject: Housing Discrimination Complaint Raven Financial LLC v. City of Saint Paul, et al. Inquiry No.: 383215 HUD Fair Housing Case Number: 05-14-1701-8 Title VI Case Number: 05- 14- 1701-6

 Your complaint, alleging one or more discriminatory housing practices, was officially filed as a complaint under the Federal Fair Housing Law, 42 U.S.C. Sections 3601-36 19, as of 11/15/2013. Your submissions have been reviewed and the following jurisdictional elements have been identified and will be investigated: Complainant has real estate interests in St. Paul, including title interests in 16 affordable low-income residential rental units at 7 properties. During 2013 and 2014, Complainant owned and managed between 7-9 affordable low-income rental dwellings in the City, providing 16-18 housing units. Its rental units are mostly older structures, with two single family homes, six duplex homes and one 4-plex multi-family building. Complainant's affordable housing units are located in the inner-city areas of St. Paul where most of the affordable housing stock consists of older homes and where a high number of vacant homes continue to exist. Complainant's rental dwellings are occupied by or are intended to be occupied by protected class members. Minority women with minor children and other minorities make up the largest percentage of tenants in Complainant's affordable housing units. Its properties are located where there is higher concentration of poverty among residents and a disproportionately higher concentration of minorities and other protected class members.
As a direct and intended result of the City Respondents' housing policies and actions
applied to Complainant and its affordable housing stock during 2012,2013 and into 2014,
complainant has been forced to sell properties, including two single family homes, five
duplex homes and a 4-plex building all at below market values. Respondents' housing
policies and actions caused economic and other injuries to Complainant and negatively
impacted its return on investment and ability and incentive to continue to provide
low-income housing in St. Paul. Complainant alleges that the following long term City
policies violate the Fair Housing Act and Title VI: (I) Respondents' "rigorous" building
and housing standards and intensive code enforcement policies and actions against
Complainant; (2) ordering the demolition of older homes, in similar fashion to actions
taken against Complainant; (3) the policies and practices related to "Vacant Buildings"
requirements; (4) Category I1 and I11 forced renovation requirements, including the
forced-renovation "Code Compliance Certification" process; and (5) policies and practices
of requiring renovation of residential properties to the high level of City satisfaction
instead of simply allowing repairs in keeping with Minnesota State Building code
requirements. Complainant alleges that the following properties it owns have been subject
to and affected by these continuing discriminatory policies: (1) 758 Maryland Ave, East St.
Paul; (2) 255 Maria Ave, St. Paul; (3) 779 Cortland Place, St. Paul; (4) 1006 Reaney Ave,
St. Paul; (5) 653 Burr Street, St. Paul; (6) 849 6th Street, St. Paul; (7) 545 Minnehaha Ave,
E. St. Paul; (8) 681 Stewart Ave., St. Paul; and (9) 1035 5th Street, St. Paul.
Complainant states that Respondents have coordinated and continued their discriminatory
and otherwise illegal efforts to demolish their 758 Maryland duplex rental home and
hundreds of other similar homes in the inner city areas of minority concentration that, but
for the Respondents' illegal actions, they would have been available for occupancy by
"protected class" families waiting for housing.
Complainant believes Respondents have negatively impacted fair housing choice and
locational choice of protected class members through the public sector housing policies by
have demolished in minority concentrated areas through code enforcement guidelines.
For your records, we are enclosing a copy of the complaints submitted by you, and, as required by law, copies have been sent to the respondent(s).
Since the respondent is a recipient of Federal financial assistance, the complaint has also been accepted and will be investigated under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42 U.S.C. 2000d - 2000d-41 asamended.
Title VI states:
No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of: 1) the rights you have during the processing of this
complaint, 2) the rights each respondent has in responding to this complaint, and 3) the steps the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (the Department) will take to determine whether the
complaint has merit. In order to ensure that the Department informs you properly of the law's requirements, this notification letter contains language required by the law. A similar letter is used to notify all parties whenever a formal complaint has been filed with the Department under the Federal Fair Housing Law. We are governed by federal law, which sets out what steps we must take when a formal complaint is filed. The law also includes steps that each respondent can take to answer or refute the allegations of this complaint. Under federal law, a respondent can file an answer to this complaint or any amendment made to this complaint within 10 calendar days of receipt of the Department's notification letter to him or her. Each respondent's answer must be signed and affirmed that the response is truthful by including the statement "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct." A respondent can, with the agreement of the Department, amend his or her answer at any time during the investigation. Our responsibility under the law is to undertake an impartial investigation and, at the same time, encourage all sides to reach an agreement, where appropriate, through conciliation. The law requires us to complete our investigation within 100 days of the date of the official filing of the complaint. If we are unable to meet the 100-day requirement for issuing a determination, the law requires that we notify you and the respondent(s) and explain the reasons why the investigation of the complaint is not completed. In handling this complaint, we will conduct an impartial investigation of all claims that the Fair Housing Act has been violated. If the investigation indicates that there is insufficient evidence establishing jurisdiction, the case will be dismissed. At any point, you can request that our staff assist you in conciliating (or settling) this complaint with the respondent(s). If the case is not resolved, we will complete our investigation and decide whether or not the evidence indicates that there has been a fair housing violation. If the parties involved have not reached an agreement to settle the complaint, the Department will issue a determination as to whether there is reasonable cause to believe a discriminatory housing practice has occurred. If our investigation indicates that there is reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful discriminatory housing practice has occurred, the Department must issue a charge. If the investigation indicates there is no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, the complaint will be dismissed. In either event, you will be notified in writing.
If the determination is one of reasonable cause, the notification will advise you and the respondent(s) of your rights to choose, within 20 days, whether you wish to have the case heard by an Administrative Law Judge, or to have the matter referred for trial in the appropriate U.S. District Court. Under federal law, even if the Department dismisses the complaint, you still have the right to bring an individual suit under the Federal Fair Housing Law. You may file your lawsuit in an appropriate federal, state or local court within two years of the date of the alleged discriminatory practice or of the date when a conciliation agreement has been violated. The law does not count, as part of the two-year period, any of the time when a proceeding is pending with the Department. You also have the legal right to file a lawsuit in court, even if your complaint formed the basis for a charge, as long as an Administrative Law Judge has not started a hearing on the record with respect to the charge. There may be other applicable federal, state or local statutes under which you and/or the respondent(s) may initiate court action. You may consult a private attorney in this regard.
The law also requires us to notify you that section 8 18 of the Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for a respondent or anyone else to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with you in your exercise or
enjoyment of, any right granted or protected under the Federal Fair Housing Law. The law also makes it illegal for anyone to coerce, threaten or interfere with you for your having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right or protection granted to them under the Federal Fair Housing Law. Additionally, under Title VI if the case is not settled, we will complete the investigation and decide whether or not the evidence indicates that the respondent is operating in noncompliance with the requirements of Title VI. The investigation will include a review of the pertinent practices and policies of the respondent, the circumstances under which the possible noncompliance occurred and any other relevant factors. If a letter of findings is issued, and the letter makes a finding of noncompliance, HUD will attempt to resolve the matter through a voluntary compliance agreement. If the investigation indicates a failure on the part of the respondent to comply with Title VI, and if noncompliance cannot be corrected, Federal financial assistance may be suspended or terminated. Other penalties may include, but are not limited to, a referral to the Department of Justice with a recommendation for enforcement. If the investigation indicates that the respondent is operating its programs in compliance with Title VI, the complaint will be dismissed. In either event, you will be notified of the outcome in writing.
Title VI [24 CFR Part 1.7(e)] makes it unlawful for a recipient or anyone else to intimidate, threaten,
coerce, or discriminate against any person for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege
secured by this part or because he or she has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. Some explanatory material on the law is enclosed for your information.
If you have any questions regarding this case, please contact our office at (312) 913-8453 or
(800)765-9372. Please refer to the case number at the top of this letter in those contacts, and keep this
office advised of any change of your address or telephone number. We hope this information has been helpful to you.

uaovice J M.&cljli"
Maurice J. McGough, Director
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Region V
Submitted November 15,2013

Raven Financial, LLC, (a Minnesota limited liability company, )
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
State of Minnesota
City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, amunicipal corporation,
Christopher B . Coleman, individually and as Mayor of City of Saint Paul,
Ricardo X. Cervantes, individually and as Director of City of Saint Paul's Department
of Safety and Inspections,
Cecile Bedor, individually and as Director of City of Saint Paul's Department of Planning and
Economic Development,
Steve Magner individually and as Manager of Code Enforcement for the City of Saint Paul's
Department of Safety and Inspections,
Marcia Moermond, City employee and City Legislative Hearing Officer, and Payne )
Phalen District Five Planning Council,

Complainant Raven Financial, LLC ("Complainant"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4
3610 of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), files its Fair Housing Complaint against the
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, State of Minnesota, City of Saint Paul ("St. Paul"),
Mayor Christopher B. Coleman, City officials Ricardo X. Cervantes, Cecile Bedor and
Steve Magner, City employee and hearing officer Marcia Moerrnond, and Payne Phalen
District Five Planning Council ("Respmdents"),

Raven Financial, LLC, a Minnesota
limited liability company,


City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, a municipal corporation,
Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul,
a Minnesota public corporation,
Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor of the City of St. Paul,
Ricardo X. Cervantes, Director of St. Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections,
Cecile Bedor, Director of St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development,
Robert Hammer, Director of Finance and Administrative Services for
St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development,
Ron C. Ross, Grants Manager-Administrator for St. Paul's Department of Planning
and Economic Development,
Steve Magner, Manager of Code Enforcement for
St. Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections, and
Payne Phalen District Five Planning Council,

Originally Submitted November 15, 2013
First Amended Complaint Submitted June 17, 2014
Inquiry No. :
HUD Case No.:
Section 3604(a), Fair Housing Act
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Section 109, Title I of Housing and Community Development Act
Failure to "Affirmatively Further Fair Housing"
Breach of Grantee and Sub-grantee Certifications and Contracts

Properties at issue
758 Mawland Ave, East, St. Paul
St. Paul declared this duplex home a "nuisance" on December 7, 2012. The City then prohibited
any permits to be issued on the property thereby creating an obstacle to Complainant's completion
of the minimal additional work that was necessary to meet the State Building Code according to
expert Don Hedquist and three licensed contractors. The prohibition on Complainants performing
any permit work on the property is continuing presently in 2014.
The City code compliance inspection fee was paid by Complainant on January 14,201 3 and a code
compliance inspection completed on February 8,20 13.
Complainant was forced by Respondents' housing policies and actions against Complainant's
overall rental portfolio to sell this home on a contract for deed on March 20,20 13 with associated
losses. Because of the negative City's policies, the contract vendee failed to comply with the terms
of the contact and Complainant has remained obligated as title holder for all the expenses of the
property through 2014.
St. Paul ordered the home demolished April 8, 2013. The Court of Appeals affirmed the City's
demolition order under Minnesota law on May 19,2014.
The home is still standing but is under current threat of demolition as of September 8,2014. City
records indicate that on July 21, 2014 the City issued a letter noting that the demolition process
was moving forward. The City boarded the home in August 2014 and is assessing $195.88 against
the property and has recently disconnected the electric and sewer connections to the home.
The City assessed the $1,440 annual vacant building fee against the home during December 2013
and Complainant paid the fee January 2, 2014. Even though the home has been vacant during
2012-2014, the City has continued to charge Complainant for recycling at the property. City fees
and expenses have drained capital resources available to operate the rental business.
The duplex home at 758 Maryland Ave. continues in vacant status, and unavailable to "protected
class" members due to Respondents' housing policies continuing presently in September 2014.
The former rental home could be occupied for an additional investment of between $5,000 to no
more than $16,450 according to Don Hedquist, a certified Minnesota State Building Official and
three licensed contractors but City had demanded at least $45,000 in renovations in order to
reoccupy the home.


Blogger Sharon Anderson said...

Used Magner Case to Free Mrs. Darlene Winter

11:30 AM  
Blogger zain said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:07 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home