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Real estate developer nabbed for discriminatory design

Handicapped housing 'tester' aims to bring buildings into compliance

Ronald Ray Smith, a polio victim who uses a wheelchair for mobility, began investigating multifamily apartment housing developments to test developer compliance with the federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA). As part of a program organized by the local Disabled Rights Action Committee (DRAC), Smith discovered discriminatory design and construction in several developments. The defects Smith observed included inaccessible interior doorways, pathways and thermostats. He and DRAC filed administrative complaints with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which conducted its own investigation, confirmed the FHAA violations and entered into a consent decree with the apartment complex owner. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Unaware of the consent decree, Smith and DRAC visited another of the developer's apartment complexes and again encountered architectural barriers in the common areas. Smith and DRAC then sued the developer for discrimination in the sale or ren...

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