Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Fined for 'Adult Only' Apt. Ads

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Fined for 'Adult Only' Apt. Ads

Article excerpt

Pays $11,000 fine for housing act violations

AN ARIZONA NEWSPAPER that has been running small classified ads for adult-only apartments for nine years has been fined $11,000 for violations of the U.S. Fair Housing Act.

The Sierra Vista Herald, a 9,100-circulation daily, settled in February after finding out that the apartment owner, whose ad offered an "adult section," was illegally discriminating against renters with children.

The 1989 U.S. Fair Housing Act prohibits ads that discriminate on the basis of familial status - or race, religion, sex, handicap or ethnicity.

It provides an exception for seniors-only housing, but the apartments advertised in the Herald lacked special features designed for seniors, a requirement needed to qualify for the exemption.

"We're way past 'whites only,' "said Herald general manager Phil Vega. "We sometimes lose ads when we turn down wording that says "good for families" or "near Lutheran church" or anything that could be interpreted as exclusionary."

The Herald was sued by Sgt. Frank Bajuses, of the nearby Fort Huachuca Army Base, wife Barbara and their 4-year-old boy. …

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