Lawsuit alleges apartment discriminated against families

A 2006 Craigslist ad discouraging families with children from applying for a Daly City apartment has led to a lawsuit filed last month by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in San Mateo Superior Court.

The suit accuses property owner Yul Hermes, property manager San Fini and Fini’s employer, Coldwell Banker Peninsula, of housing discrimination and seeks unlimited damages.

DFEH attorneys claim that on March 6, 2006, Fini posted a Craigslist ad for a two-bedroom apartment at 95 Hill Street stating, “This unit is good for two single persons or a married couple with no kids.”

After an anonymous tip on March 8, a hired tester at Project Sentinel, a fair housing nonprofit organization, sent Fini an e-mail identifying herself as a single mother of two, according to the lawsuit. Fini allegedly responded telling her the owner only expects two people for the unit but he would ask him anyway. Fini never again replied, according to the suit. A second tester, who also said she had two young children, telephoned Fini who allegedly told her “the owner only wants two people” after asking her the ages of her children.

On March 14, the discriminatory ad was re-posted, however Fini told a tester who claimed to have one child there was no condition on children when she telephoned him, according to the suit.

Reached by telephone, Fini said he has had prior problems with Project Sentinel’s staff, which he believes unfairly targeted him because he is a minority and because he refused to purchase their training courses. The Craigslist ad was a misunderstanding between him and his assistant, who posted the ad, and was quickly changed when the error was discovered, he said.

Evan White, fair housing coordinator for Project Sentinel, said his organization filed a previous complaint against Fini alleging he and a residential hotel owner in South San Francisco threatened a mentally disabled man with being placed in an institution if he didn’t move out so they could sell the property. The man passed away before a state commissioner ruled in his favor Jan. 4, he said.

Bill Branch, spokesman for the DFEH, said that discrimination against families with children is the third most common complaint, behind discrimination against those with disabilities and racial discrimination.

In fiscal year 2006-07, the DFEH received 222 complaints of discrimination against families with children statewide — 15.5 percent of the agency’s total housing discrimination complaints.

tbarak@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

“Tenet,” the new Christopher Nolan film starring John David Washington, is showing at the drive-in in Concord. (Courtesy Warner Bros.)
Drive-ins are popping up all over the Bay Area

There are pandemic-era options for movie lovers who want to watch outdoors

The San Francisco International Arts Festival will present performances this weekend outdoors at Fort Mason, including on the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF International Arts Festival wins health department approval for weekend performances

Rules allow no more than 50 people at outdoor Fort Mason performances

In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot March 17, 2005 in San Quentin, California. Judge Alfred A. Delucchi sentenced Peterson to death March 16 for murdering his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child. (California Department of Corrections via Getty Images/TNS)
Prosecutors to retry penalty phase of Scott Peterson trial

2003 discovery of Laci Peterson’s body led to sensational high-profile murder trial of husband

Most Read