The Feds are Suing a Euless Apartment Complex for Refusing to House 'Curry People'
By most measures, the Stone Bridge at Bear Creek in Euless is a typical mid-priced suburban apartment complex. There's covered parking and a couple of swimming pools. What little green space there is is well-manicured. The building facades are done in a bland but tasteful red brick.
To spot the difference, you'll have to go to building 18, where all but one unit is leased to renters of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. Most of the other buildings have none.
The federal government thinks this is by design. According to a lawsuit filed by the feds on Thursday and first reported by the Morning News, complex manager Nancy Quandt systemically denied housing to "curry people," as she called them.
Quandt, according to the lawsuit, instructed her leasing agents that they should funnel any person who had an Indian-sounding surname or accent or, basically, was brown and looked as if they might enjoy curry, into buildings 16 and 18. If those were full, they were to claim the entire complex was occupied, despite the fact that, throughout 2009 at least, there were no fewer than 20 units available.
It's not just that Quandt didn't want such people living in her complex. She didn't want them living at all. She was once overheard musing to a tenant about how she hated Middle Easterners and wished she could put them on an airplane or island and "blow them up."
That anecdote was included in the lawsuit to implicate Quandt's bosses at S&H Realty Management, who the feds say ignored complaints of her boorish behavior. It has nothing to do with the government's cause of action, which is that she denied apartments to applicants because of their race, in blatant violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Nancy Hart, vice president of S&H Realty, told the Morning News that the government's claims are bunk. "We stand behind our employees, we've done nothing wrong, and we welcome the opportunity to prove that," she said.
Maybe they'll try the strategy they employed when allegations of discrimination were first raised in 2010. Then, they rebutted a one-star score on apartmentratings.com by noting that 4 percent of occupied units at Stone Bridge "are leased to persons with Asian surnames," a notch higher than the 3.6 percent of Tarrant County residents who are Asian.
"The post by 'Anonymous' is suspect," the response continues. "An ex-employee of Stonebridge has filed an unfounded Fair Housing Complaint that captured the attention of the media. The matter is currently in litigation and we are certain that the management team at Stonebridge will be cleared of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately many things that appear in the newspaper are not factual."
But many of them are, and the folks at S&H would be wise to keep in mind that, while Americans really hate journalists, they hate racists even more.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.