Government & Politics

Complaint accuses KC officials of trying to get low-income black renters to move

Bainbridge Apartments, 900 E. Armour Blvd.
Bainbridge Apartments, 900 E. Armour Blvd. The Kansas City Star

A company that manages several low-income apartment buildings on Armour Boulevard has filed a federal fair housing complaint accusing Kansas City officials of trying to get black residents to move.

Eagle Point Cos., which operates the Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista apartments, filed its complaint this week with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Kansas City municipal government, City Councilman Jim Glover, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority and Peter Cassel of MAC Property Management.

Eagle Point officials allege the city and its representatives tried to force low-income African-American residents of its buildings out of the Hyde Park neighborhood.

City Attorney Bill Geary said the city would have no comment on the filing, and Cassel and Al Figuly of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority did not respond to requests for comment. Glover vehemently denied the allegations and said his involvement in discussions about the Eagle Point properties was motivated only by a desire “to address real public problems of crime and other issues.”

The complaint stems from a dispute that erupted late last year after the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority commissioned a blight study on behalf of the city. The study concluded that Bainbridge, at 900 E. Armour Blvd., and other Eagle Point buildings on Armour were not physically blighted but were a “social liability.”

City officials had argued that the Eagle Point properties, which were part of the federal low-income Section 8 program, were a major source of crime problems in Hyde Park. The blight study could have paved the way for the city to end Eagle Point’s management through eminent domain.

Eagle Point leaders fiercely defended their property management and challenged the study for its methodology, fairness and crime conclusions. The city did not pursue condemnation, and some city officials said the study had prompted a productive discussion on possible solutions with Eagle Point.

But now Eagle Point officials say an attempt to reach a memorandum of understanding to resolve lingering issues has stalled with the City Council. The fair housing complaint, they said, is aimed at protecting Eagle Point’s residents from any attempt to get them to move.

With these types of complaints, HUD normally investigates and determines if there is reasonable cause that fair housing rights were violated. The case can then go to an administrative law judge for a ruling or to federal court.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

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