Indy organization part of first-ever settlement involving REO properties

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The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana is one of 13 fair-housing organizations that will split a $27 million settlement from Wells Fargo Bank with the National Fair Housing Alliance after a complaint alleged the bank better maintained its real estate properties in white neighborhoods.

The federal-housing complaint was filed in April 2012 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It alleged that Wells Fargo did not maintain or market its REO properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods as well as those properties found in white neighborhoods.

REO properties have gone through foreclosure and are now owned by banks, investors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administrator or Veterans Affairs.

The $27 million will assist the NFHA and the fair-housing organizations in promoting home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, property rehabilitation and development in communities of color in 19 cities, according to a release from the NFHA. Under the agreement, Wells Fargo will make it easier to obtain information about REO properties, will implement best practices for the maintenance and marketing of its REO properties, and will develop a fair-housing training program on REO issues for its employees and agents who sell Wells Fargo REO properties.

“Indianapolis has been nicknamed one of the emptiest cities in America due to the number of vacant houses post foreclosure crisis,” said Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. “These funds will provide a welcome boost to rehab vacant homes in need in our hardest hit neighborhoods of color and stop any further deterioration into required demolition and loss of housing stock.”

Wells Fargo will end up paying out more than $42 million dollars: An additional $11.5 million will go to support neighborhoods in 25 other cities; $3 million to the NFHA and the 13 fair-housing organizations involved in the complaint for cost and damages; and $550,000 for conferences and seminars.

There are two similar housing-discrimination complaints pending against US Bank and Bank of America that were also filed last year.



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  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  2. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  3. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."