Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Developer Appeals Ruling in Calvey Apartment Suit

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Developer Appeals Ruling in Calvey Apartment Suit

Article excerpt

A metro real estate developer who sued state Rep. Kevin Calvey over his role in having funding for an apartment project canceled said a decision by a district court granting judgment in favor of Calvey has been appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court in Denver.

Midwest City Tinker Housing Associates, a partnership involving ERC Properties, said it has filed a notice of appeal in the case, which had named Calvey as a defendant. Other defendants in the original case, including the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners, earlier had settled with ERC.

We feel we have strong grounds for appeal, ERC vice president Bert Belanger said Wednesday.

Last week, U.S. District Judge David Russell in a summary judgment threw out the Fair Housing Act lawsuit filed by ERC against Calvey, R-Del City, the last defendant in the lawsuit.

ERC Partners of Oklahoma and Midwest City Tinker Housing Associates filed the suit in 2002, naming Calvey, the county commissioners, and Del City Mayor Dick Kanenchen as defendants. In the case, ERC had alleged Calvey and the other defendants violated federal fair housing laws when they urged commissioners to rescind support for a proposed ERC apartment complex for low- and moderate- income families.

ERC said the county's decision to vote against the development was in part influenced by Calvey's public statements in which Calvey said the apartments were likely to attract lower-income tenants who, statistically, will be much more likely to be involved in drug trafficking, domestic violence, theft, and other social ills.

Calvey's statements, ERC said, amounted to camouflaged racially biased expressions that had a discriminatory impact in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit also accused Calvey and others of initiating an untruthful and illegal smear campaign to block the apartment development. Comments by Calvey included statements to the effect that the apartments would pose a safety concern to the nearby Tinker Air Force Base and that apartment renters might gain a position to view into the interior of the base, where AWACS planes operated, the lawsuit said.

Calvey in a deposition for the lawsuit later said he did not know whether the proposed apartments would provide a line of sight to the Tinker runway or the so-called AWACS birdcage. Calvey said such a line-of-site would depend on how the apartments were constructed. …

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