Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post
Published March 25, 2007
WEST PALM BEACH — Even though Sidney
Hansford found his tires flattened by nails and a copy of a racially
offensive song on his car, he still wanted to live in one of the massive
condominium developments off Melaleuca Lane in Greenacres.
However, when it came time to renew his
lease, the board of Pine Ridge South II Condominium Association
turned him down. He claims it is because he is black.
Hansford's claims, made in a lawsuit filed
this week in U.S. District Court, are part of a three-prong attack on the
association, charging it with racial discrimination.
Hansford is joined in the lawsuit by Norma
Hendrickson, a white woman who rented her unit to him for 15 months before
his renewal application was rejected in 2005.
Allen Mansfield, who is accusing the
association of refusing to let him buy a unit in the development because
of his race, is also part of the lawsuit filed by attorney Jim Green, a
civil rights attorney, and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.
In court papers, the association denies the
allegations, claiming it merely was enforcing its rules.
However, in the lawsuit, Green claims the
rules were changed for his clients.
For instance, Mansfield was required to be
interviewed by the board, something prospective white buyers aren't forced
Further, he said, association rules dictate
the board must make a decision on a prospective buyer within 20 days.
Mansfield's review dragged on for nearly two months after he signed a
contract to purchase a unit in March 2005.
Likewise, Green claims, Hansford was cited
for violations, such as improper parking. Similar violations by whites are
routinely ignored, he said. The violations were used to deny him a new
Hendrickson claims she sold her unit in the
condominium after Hansford's renewal was rejected, fearing reprisals from
The suit, assigned to U.S. District Court
Judge Donald Middlebrooks, seeks actual and punitive damages.