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SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND FIRST BOSTON REAL ESTATE

  1. Introduction

This Settlement Agreement is between the United States and First Boston Real Estate (First Boston) to settle alleged violations of Section 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. of the Fair Housing Act, on the basis of race in the sale, rental, and listing for sale or rental dwellings in violation of the Act.

The Department of Justice is authorized under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614, to investigate fully matters where information indicates that there may be a pattern and practice of violating the Fair Housing Act. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 3614 "[w]henever...[she] has a reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of any of the rights granted by...[the Fair Housing Act], or that any group of persons has been denied any of the rights granted by... [the Fair Housing Act] and such denial raises an issue of general public importance, ... [to] commence a civil action in any appropriate United States district court." In consideration of the terms of this Settlement Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation and from filing civil suit in this matter with regard to the alleged facts set forth in Section II below.

  1. Background

First Boston is a real estate company located at 3200 NW 23rd Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. First Boston engages in the sale of residential real estate and does business in the Western District of Oklahoma.

The Metropolitan Fair Housing Council of Greater Oklahoma (MFHC) is a private fair housing organization located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As part of its program activities, MFHC receives and investigates complaints of unlawful housing discrimination and conducts periodic tests of rental and sales policies in Oklahoma City to measure compliance with federal, state, and local law. MFHC uses "testers" to compare the treatment afforded to different types of prospective renters or purchasers of housing. Testers are persons who, without the intent to rent or purchase, seek information about the availability of dwellings to determine whether discriminatory housing practices are occurring.

Between April 5, 1996 and April 11, 1996, MFHC conducted a series of tests of the sales policies and practices of First Boston. These tests reveal that First Boston's agent made statements that he would refuse to sell the single-family home located at 2006 Bellaire Drive, Moore, Oklahoma to any black persons.

  1. Statement of Agreement

This Settlement Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this Settlement Agreement will be enforceable under its provisions. This Settlement Agreement is limited to the factual allegations set forth in Section II above; and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Fair Housing Act or any other federal law. Nor does this Agreement affect the continuing responsibility of First Boston to comply with all aspects of the Fair Housing Act.

The parties agree that First Boston, its agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them will not violate the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

  1. Corrective Actions

The parties agree that First Boston shall take the following corrective actions:

  1. First Boston shall implement, no later than the date of this Settlement Agreement, an objective, uniform, and non-discriminatory policy (Policy) governing the information to be given persons inquiring about the availability of properties and for the processing of applications and the approval of applicants. A copy of this Policy is attached as Exhibit A. This Policy shall be prominently displayed in the offices of First Boston and a copy shall be made available to any person inquiring about the availability of properties.

  2. Within ten (10) days after the date of this Settlement Agreement, First Boston shall take the following steps to notify the public of its nondiscriminatory policies:

    1. Pursuant to 24 C.F.R. Part 110, post and prominently display in the offices of First Boston a Fair Housing Poster;

    2. Include, prominently placed and easily legible, the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising and on all pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature; and

    3. For the duration of this Settlement Agreement and within ten (10) days after the date he or she commences an employment or agency relationship with First Boston, provide each new employee or agent with listing or sales responsibilities, a copy of this Settlement Agreement and a copy of the Policy attached as Exhibit A.

  1. Reporting Requirements

During the term of this Settlement Agreement, First Boston shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written complaint against First Boston, or against any of its employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing. First Boston shall provide a copy of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. First Boston shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.

  1. Compensation for the Metropolitan Fair Housing Council

Within thirty (30) days after the date of this Settlement Agreement, First Boston shall pay the sum of three thousand dollars ($3,000) to the Metropolitan Fair Housing Council.

  1. Duration of Agreement and Enforcement

  1. The provisions of this Agreement shall remain in effect for three (3) years after the date it has been signed by representatives of both parties as evidenced by their signatures below.

  2. If the United States believes any provision of this Agreement has been violated, it shall promptly advise First Boston in writing of the nature of that violation, and, within thirty (30) days of receipt of said written notice from the United States, the parties shall confer in a good faith attempt to resolve the issue. In the event the parties are not able to resolve this issue to the reasonable satisfaction of the United States, the United States may seek to enforce the Agreement or any provision thereof, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma through initiation of a lawsuit. Failure of the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision of it with regard to any deadline or any other provision contained herein shall not be construed as a waiver by the United States of any right to do so.

    Agreed to by the parties as indicated by the signatures of counsel below.

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

JOAN MAGAGNA
Acting Chief BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
Deputy Chief SUNNY E. PIETRAFESA
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
202-616-2217

FOR FIRST BOSTON REAL ESTATE:

FENTON RAMEY
Five Fourth Fifth
P.O. Box 850187
Yukon, OK 73085
405-354-2526



ATTACHMENT A

First Boston Real Estate

Non-discriminatory Policy

First Boston is an equal opportunity housing provider and does not discriminate against anyone in any aspect of the sale of properties because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status (having children under the age of 18 years). Further, First Boston complies with all federal, state and local laws. Accordingly, prospective applicants inquiring about homes for sale will be informed of all available properties.

Failure of any First Boston employee or agent to comply with this Policy will result in immediate termination of association with First Boston.

General Information Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
 
Leadership
Steven H. Rosenbaum
Chief
Contact
Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section
(202) 514-4713
TTY - 202-305-1882
FAX - (202) 514-1116
To Report an Incident of Housing Discrimination:
1-800-896-7743
Mailing Contact
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Email: fairhousing@usdoj.gov

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