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Real estate company Curtis Investment Group, Inc. has to pay $900,000 to the District after refusing to rent to residents who use housing vouchers. 

The payment is part of a resettlement the company reached with the Office of the Attorney General. The OAG filed a lawsuit in June 2019 against Curtis Investment Group, a landlord for several buildings in Wards 7 and 8. Now the landlord has to pay up, follow the law, and undergo anti-discrimination training. 

It represents the largest recovery so far in a civil rights case, the OAG announced on Thursday. 

“The Office of the Attorney General will not tolerate illegal conduct that discriminates against our most vulnerable residents,” Attorney General Karl Racine said in a press statement. “Real estate companies are now on notice that discriminating against tenants on the basis of how they pay their rent is illegal. If they violate the law, we will seek to impose serious fines and penalties.” 

Even though the DC Human Rights Act outlaws housing discrimination based on income, many landlords have sought to exclude renters who participate in the federal voucher program. According to a 2018 report from Urban Institute, about 15 percent of landlords refused to accept vouchers. 

City Paper wrote about one renter who sued a Colorado-based real estate company in January for refusing to rent an apartment unit to her because she uses a voucher to pay rent. Latrobe Apartment Homes, where the woman tried to rent from, explicitly said on its website: “We do not accept housing vouchers at this community.” The real estate company said it was a mistake after City Paper reached out for comment.

When City Paper reported on the issue, readers asked who enforces the law against housing discrimination based on income? While the OAG can’t go after every landlord, it does investigate when it learns of possible discrimination.The OAG just filed a lawsuit against three real estate companies on Tuesday for discriminating against D.C. residents who use the voucher or rapid rehousing programs. The OAG has the capacity to do all this through its Civil Rights Section.

—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • The District has a large Latinx teacher-student gap. So teacher advocates are trying to retain and recruit more Latinx educators to correct the disparity. [WCP]

  • Investigation finds a Metro operator fell asleep at the switch last year. [WTOP]

  • Eleven-month-old Makenzie Anderson was killed in a hotel that functions as a homeless shelter. [Post]

  • You can now bring your dog along for the Uber ride. But it’ll cost you. [DCist]

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • A Ward 6 neighborhood commissioner said people experiencing homelessness aren’t residents. [Hill Rag]

  • Activist accused of sexual misconduct wants to decriminalize sex work. [Post]

  • Ward 2 has another Council candidate, Brooke Pinto. [DCist]

  • ICYMI: Mayor Bowser repeated Mike Bloomberg’s misleading talking points on stop and frisk. [WCP]

  • Would Bowser make a good veep? [Twitter]

  • Should businesses be forced to take cash? [WAMU]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Adams Morgan jazz bar Columbia Station has closed. The owner says he’s moved the music next door to Green Island Cafe. [WCP]

  • Restaurant sales were high in D.C. in January, which is typically a slow month. [WBJ]

  • Blood doesn’t play a big role in American cuisine. [Eater]

  • Is it a public health problem that retailers are increasingly serving alcohol to their customers? [Post]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Here’s your Spring 2020 Arts and Entertainment guide. [WCP]

  • The Royale at 1st Stage is a powerful production. [WCP]

  • DCPL’s top fiction, nonfiction, and overall titles by black authors. [DCist]

  • Daily Beast reporters present a new kind of Trump book. [Washingtonian]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Members of the Houston Astros apologized yesterday at spring training in Florida for their involvement in the sign stealing scandal, but opposing players, including those on the Washington Nationals, aren’t particularly satisfied with the team’s comments, which felt lacking in remorse or accountability. [Slate, Post]

  • Old Glory DC, an expansion team in Major League Rugby, will play its home opener at Cardinal Stadium this Sunday at 3 p.m. Helping lead the way is Tendai Mtawarira, who previously played for the South African national team. [Washington Times]

  • One week after 17,163 fans showed up at Audi Field for the DC Defenders’ inaugural game, the team returns to action this Saturday at home against the New York Guardians. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • Bradley Beal won’t be at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago after being snubbed from the All-Star team, but the Wizards will be represented by Rui Hachimura and Moe Wagner in the Rising Stars Challenge and Dāvis Bertāns in the three-point shooting contest. [CBS Sports]

CITY LIGHTS, byEmma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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