Industry News

Real estate broker, homeowner face fair-housing charges

Mom-and-son team allegedly turned down higher bid of African-American couple

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In its eighth action since September, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced it has charged Lillie Arnett, a Realtor and real estate broker, and her son, Teddy Arnett, with violating the Fair Housing Act for allegedly refusing to sell a home to Marvin and Stephanie Benton, an African American couple, based on their race and color. On Jan. 24, 2004, the Bentons looked at a house Teddy Arnett was selling in Scott, Ark. Later that afternoon, the Bentons, through their agent, Wayne Smith, made an offer to purchase the property for $139,000, the full purchase price. The offer was contingent upon Arnett agreeing to pay up to 6 percent of the closing and prepaid fees. Additionally, the buyer asked Arnett to pay up to 3 percent of the down payment requirement through a buyer-assistance program. Later that day, Lillie Arnett, serving as her son's agent, allegedly advised Smith that the offer was not acceptable. While relaying the rejection, Ms. Arnett allegedly a...