New York's Redlining Race Discrimination Remix

These days the most common claims of lending discrimination have been "reverse redlining" cases.

But the NY Attorney General is hot on the trail of apparently resurgent good-old-fashioned redlining discrimination.  The AG filed a suit for discriminatory redlining practices against the parent company of Hamburg-based Evans Bank -- and has described the alleged redlining as a textbook example of an illegal redlining policy:

“This is classic redlining,” Schneiderman said, tracing his finger around the boundary. “If you had to make up a hypothetical to explain to law students what redlining is, you would use a map like this.”
Schneiderman also cited statistics showing that from 2009 to 2012, Evans received 1,114 applications for residential mortgages in the Buffalo metro area, but only four were from African-American applicants. He also said of those 1,114 applications, only eight came from the East Side and just one of those was from an African-American. Schneiderman said that competing banks were lending at much higher rates." (link)

Here's the relevant map of Evan's lending:


To be blunt, this map does very much look like it could be in a lending discrimination textbook.

Moreover, it looks like there's more good-old-fashioned redlining litigation to come:

“We are looking at other banks in other parts of the state, and if banks do not agree to resolve these really disgraceful practices, then there will be further litigation,” Schneiderman said at a news conference in his Buffalo office." (link)

Stay tuned for some discrimination classic hits!

Barneys Settles "Shopping While Black" Suit With NY AG

As covered by the Style of the Case:

"According to the agreement, Barneys will pay $525,000 in damages, fees, and penalties, employ an anti-profiling consultant with expertise in the prevention of racial profiling in loss prevention and asset protection; Investigate customer complaints of profiling; develop and conduct anti-profiling training for loss-prevention and sales employees; adopt new loss-prevention detention policies and a new anti-profiling policy;limit access to its closed-circuit TV areas by local law enforcement officers and maintain records of visits by local law enforcement officers; and establish new record keeping requirements on investigations, detentions and false stops conducted by loss-prevention employees.
Rev. Al Sharpton released a statement Monday:
'Barneys’ agreement with the attorney general was a 'move in the right direction towards fairness and equal respect for all consumers, but we must monitor and continue to be vigilant.''” (link).

Rather incredibly, this is the second time the NY AG has sued Barneys for this exact same thing.

"In 2005, the state attorney general’s office, then under Eliot Spitzer, filed a federal lawsuit against Macy’s that claimed racial discrimination of black and Hispanic customers.

* * *

Macy’s at the time denied any wrongdoing, but the suit was resolved after the company agreed to pay $600,000 in damages, create a position of security monitor, develop regulations on handcuffing, and keep a database of records of all detentions." (link)

Question - Who will be the next AG to bring the same suit, about the same thing, ten years from now after Schneiderman -- and will it also be settled for almost the same amount of money?

Actually, this time it was resolved for $75,000 less than in 2005 so I guess we can estimate it will be $450,000 next time around.

Barneys appears to be a truly wonderful store.

Haunted by The (Standing) Dead?: Zombie Homes Plaugue NYC

Is your neighborhood haunted by the (standing) dead?:

Brooklyn and Queens are plagued with “zombie” properties — homes abandoned by their owners and banks that fail to complete the foreclosure process.
New York currently has 807 of the deserted homes, which can waste away for years as lenders fail to maintain them.
. . . .

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pushed a bill that would force mortgage holders to care for the properties. It failed to pass this legislative session.

'Zombie homes are a drain on families and communities and place undue burden on thinly stretched municipal resources,' said Melissa Grace, an AG spokeswoman. 'We look forward to working with the legislature . . . next session.' (link)