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No Blacks allowed: Miami apartment sued for discrimination

Erick Johnson | 5/29/2014, 9 a.m.
When Lakeisha Wright inquired about a unit at Elite Riverview Apartments in Miami, she was told that there were none ...
HOPE Fair Housing filed a discrimination suit against Elite Riverview Apartments claiming Blacks were treated unfairly and denied tours to view units.

On her way out “Doe” even showed Del Rosario the laundry room, telling her the facility’s operating hours before escorting her down the stairs to the parking garage, according to the suit.

In another audit check on March 13, Michael Goldwire, another Black tester, visited Elite River View Apartments to inquire about the availability of apartments. Prior to going up the elevator to the first floor, Mr. Goldwire noticed a sign on a deliveries door with manager’s phone number on it. Goldwire wrote down the telephone number.

But when Mr. Goldwire arrived at the manager’s office, he knocked on the door, but there was no answer. He then called the number and still there was no answer. Goldwire eventually connected with “Doe” and asked if there were any two-bedroom or one-room apartments available. He was told “no” and was asked to check back March 28.

SURVEILLANCE DEVICES

According to the lawsuit, the facility had “audio and video surveillance on duty at all times” so the race of persons entering could be observed – including Mr. Goldwire and all other HOPE testers . That may explain why Goldwire and Wright, the Black female tester, did not receive responses after knocking numerous times on the manager’s office door.

Less than two hours after Goldwire was allegedly turned away, Eugenio Reyes, a Hispanic tester, arrived at the complex for the same purpose and was told that there was a two-bedroom apartment available, but that it would not be ready until April 14. The suit alleges that Reyes was told the monthly rent of the apartment, move-in requirements, and the fee for a background check that would cost an extra $70.

Unlike all the Latino testers, Roberto “Doe” declined to give out apartment rates to Wright, saying “the company gives him the rate amounts and did not disclose his last name to the testers.

The Miami Times made several attempts to contact the management at Elite Riverview Apartments. The greeting on the manager’s voicemail identifies Roberto only by the first name. When contacted by a reporter on Tuesday, Roberto spoke in Spanish and therefore was unable to comment for this story.