Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fair Housing Lawsuit: City Is Using Imposition Of Inflated Annual Fire Fees As A "Financial Stranglehold" To $queeze South Florida Assisted Living Facility Serving Mentally Ill & Elderly Out Of Business

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:
  • An assisted-living facility has sued the city in federal court for charging what it claims was a too-steep fire fee and for discriminating against its mentally ill and senior residents.

    Neville and Pat Buchanan, a minister and a registered nurse who used their retirement savings to open Potter's House 13 years ago, say the city's actions have hurt the value of their Cannon Point property.

    "At some point, they'd like to retire, but at this point they can't because they can't sell the business for what it's worth because of the over-regulation and taxation," said their attorney, Aram Bloom.

    The city settled a suit in February brought by another Cannon Point facility, agreeing to pay Spaw Family Holdings just $60,000 to put its claims to rest. The company's six properties were foreclosed upon and the city ended up buying them from the bank for $855,992.

    The Cannon Point neighborhood is off Northwest 56th Avenue, a few blocks south of Oakland Park Boulevard.

    In the Potter's House suit, the facility claims it was forced to pay exorbitant fire fees — the suit called them a "financial stranglehold" — that jumped from under $15,000 to almost $50,000 over the course of three years.

    The suit charges the city "set out to systematically deprive Plaintiff's residents, who are handicapped (mentally disabled) and elderly individuals" of a place to live.

    "Moreover, because of limited bedspace in Broward County, Plaintiff's residents have nowhere else to go and will likely become homeless if Plaintiff is not able to keep its doors open to them as common residents." the suit said.

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