Exclusive: lawsuit paints disturbing picture of company that targeted Latinos, low-income tenants and those with mental disabilities in illegal eviction scheme
The Latino families all got the same threat posted on their doors: if their children played in the apartments hallways, they would be evicted. When the Spanish-speaking parents asked the Los Angeles property managers for help reading the notices, they were told: Learn English.
According to a federal discrimination lawsuit filed Thursday against a major California real estate investment firm, when four mothers inquired about the notices, management threatened to call immigration, social services and the police.
I was in shock, said Carmen Castro, one of the mothers. That really created a fear in us.
The complaint against Optimus Properties paints a disturbing picture of a company that has targeted and harassed Latino residents, low-income tenants and renters with mental disabilities as part of an illegal eviction scheme to replace them with wealthier, younger people.
Civil rights advocates said the suit, filed on behalf of 15 tenants and advocacy group Strategic Alliance for a Just Economy, provides a window into the tactics of profit-driven real estate investors who are aggressively purchasing and flipping older buildings, accelerating gentrification, displacement and income inequality in cities across the US.